Friday, January 31, 2014


I had the great honor to be with some pastors in Haiti this week, witnessing the astounding work that Convoy of Hope is doing in that country.

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked the nation on January 12, 2010, was Haiti's most powerful in more than 200 years.  More than 200,000 were killed and 2.3 million left homeless.  Thousands of homes, schools and hospitals were destroyed, as well as the U.N. Headquarters in Port-Au-Prince, the presidential palace and much of the main commerce area of the city.

Four years later, nearly 150,000 still live in tents and makeshift shelters.

Convoy of Hope was already in the country prior to the earthquake, providing meals for children by the thousands.  As of today, their efforts make it possible for nearly 90,000 children to have a meal every single day -- every … single … day.  Their efforts at water purification in a country where cholera outbreaks have raised the bar of survival, have been a God-send to the Haitian people.

It was a privilege to visit several orphanages and schools during our short 2-day visit --- to love and hug on kids who will go to bed tonight without a mother or father to hold them.

This could be a ramped up prayer request that you could add to your personal list of prayer requests.  We will be making opportunity at Journey Church to respond more tangibly as the weeks progress.

P.S. -- I couldn't help but notice on the flight home -- hours after visiting the last orphanage -- that those of us on the plane tore into our goody bags provided by the airline -- pretzels, cheese & crackers, soft cookies and Kit Kat bars -- almost like it was a race to see who could down it fastest and first.  Self included.

It's so easy to forget.  Let's try not to.

And be blessed.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


God said in centuries past:  "Let Me tell you what is going to happen one day.  One day your son is going to come to you:  'Dad, the sheep is having a lamb - the one who's never had a lamb before.'

You run out and see the sheep bear a lamb -- it's first time -- and you take the lamb and cut its throat, just as God commanded you to do with the first animal to come from a fresh womb.  At some point as your son grows, he's going to say: 'Dad, we need to talk.  I don't know if you realize this, but we're in the ranching business and you've developed a very bad habit of killing our profits.'

And God says, 'When that happens, bring your son to your side and say:  'Son, I've never told you this about our family but I think you need to know it now.  Your father hasn't always been in the sheep business.  As a matter of fact, our family used to be slaves.  And son, I don't know if you remember when you were younger, but your great grandpa took his shirt off in the field and I wondered that day if you noticed the scars on his back - from a whip.  We didn't own anything - no sheep - no cattle - no crops - nothing.  Someone owned us.

BUT GOD, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, delivered us.  So now our family gladly brings Him the firstborn of our flock because everything we have is because of Him.'

And you, sir -- you, ma'am -- will get to do this one day with your own children, if you haven't already.  Joelene and I did it after a fashion with our kids.

A tithe (10%) amount looks like a bazillion dollars to a child.  And one day your child will come to you:  'Dad … mom … why do you give so much money to God and to God's House?'

'Who's really first in your life?'

That's when you can take your son or daughter into your lap and say:  'I'm going to tell you something I've never told you before but I think it's time you knew.  Your daddy wasn't always a follower of Jesus.  Your daddy was in terrible bondage - he was a slave to sin - forever lost.  

BUT GOD, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, delivered us.  So now our family gladly brings Him the first fruits of all we have and all we own - because everything we are is because of Him.'"

And I'm asking you a rubber-meets-the-road question.  Don't give me a religious answer.

Who's really first in your life?  Who do you worship and honor with the first fruits of your increase?

First matters because faith matters.

And be blessed.

Friday, January 24, 2014


This is my high school yearbook picture -- look away -- please.  
Then there are some other students below who graduated the same year as I.  (Why does everyone else look so great?)

Some of the things I did way back then -- the way I spent my discretionary time -- were based on some of my '70s friendships.  

But here's the thing -- I don't even remember most of them now, nor do I have any of those relationships today with one or two exceptions.  Not just because I moved away.  There are plenty of people with whom I have maintained long term connection who no longer live near me.

Why are these people - who I allowed on some level to define my morality and behavior - not in my life today?

Because there was no cause that went beyond us.  Our cause was to have fun in school and fun on the weekends - our cause was to make fun of teachers and squeeze a diploma out of the school.

The cause was about us.  But "YOU" is not a cause that will define, drive, develop or direct your life.  It has to be bigger than you.

And it will cost you a lot.

And be blessed.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Remember the motley crew that comprised the Fellowship of the Ring?

Frodo Baggins the Hobbit, Samwise Gamgee, Meriadoc Brandybuck, Peregrin Took, Gandalf the Grey, Aragorn, Legolas the Elf, Boromir the Man, Gimli the Dwarf.

They were … a fellowship … a community of people who shared an interest.

Every person you see - every moment of your life - is an opportunity to extend the Fellowship of the Trinity.  It's one of the grand things you were created for.

Neglect this and it doesn't much matter what else you do.  Neglect this and you'll not accomplish anything of eternal significance.

'Community is not a game.  It's life.'

But devote yourself to it and you will lead the most magnificent, meaningful life possible.

Community is not a game.  It's a life.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


When I got married to Joelene I really had no clue what in the world I was doing.  She might tell you I still don't.  I've learned a lot since then, of course, but I wish someone would have shared with me before getting married that you should order your life this way:


1 - Know who your Master is.  Know what rules your life.

2 - What does your Master want from you?  What is your mission?

3 - Prepare yourself to choose a mate who will help fulfill that mission.

That isn't exactly the way I did it.  I breezed right to Number 3 and popped the question in the back seat of a Ford.  

'Master … Mission … Mate'

Why waste time with that Master, Mission, Mate junk?  It was 'mate' and 'checkmate,' baby.  We'll figure that rest of that crud out as we go.

But, 'Let's get a good church and be happy,' isn't a worthy cause for a marriage.

A worthy cause is something like: 'We'll help each other grow to become more like Christ - we'll express God's love intimately and exclusively with one another - we'll be an outreach force as we model the love of Christ to those around us.'  That would be worthy.

Why are you in the business community you're in?
Why are you in the neighborhood you're in?
Why are you in the church you're in?
Why are you in the ministry or serving group you're in?
Why are you in the marriage you're in?

Is there a cause greater than you and is everyone agreeing to it?

And be blessed.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


My signature seems to be getting worse the older I get.  It isn't that my actual writing is deteriorating, I think I just don't care as much.  I'm not sure if that's good or bad - it just is.

God has a signature as well.  It's all over the Bible - His plan of community.  God, who exists as Three, is One.

1 + 1 + 1 = 1.

Then God creates humans in His image - male and female.

1 + 1 = 1.

Later on, God will create 12 tribes, but they will be one.

1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 1

God's math is so easy.  The answer is always 1.

'How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity' -- as 1.

Jesus prays for His followers - you and me - 'I pray that they can be one.  As You, Father, are in Me and I am in You, may they also be one in Us.'

'You and I are invited into the Divine circle.'

That's an amazing verse.  You and I are invited into the Divine circle.  But it is no casual request.  There is an enormous admission fee to the circle.

The Son will go to the cross.
The Father will see His beloved Son crushed.
The Spirit will allow Himself to be quenched and grieved.
At great cost to each person of the Trinity, you and I have been welcomed into the circle.

And be blessed.

Monday, January 20, 2014


I've mellowed over the years, but when our family used to go on vacation together, I was kind of like the trip Nazi.   

Let's use a trip to Washington, DC as our example.

First of all, the car ride -- We're taking the very shortest distance between Point A and Point B.  As close to a straight line as possible.  To me, car travel is all about high speed and six lane interstates, preferably toll free.  And if you want to get in a car with me for an extended ride, you'd better empty your overly small bladder of pretty much everything, if you get my drift.  We are not stopping under any circumstances unless we are coasting on gas fumes -- and then, at the One Stop, you have exactly 72.6 seconds to get out of the car, do your business, buy a candy bar, and be back in the car with your seat belt on, because we are TAKING OFF!  (Patience is my most rotten Fruit of the Spirit.)

Then, the hotel -- There is no need to spend three hours organizing the clothing in the hotel room dresser drawers.  And one does not need to regularly apply and re-apply make up in the hotel bathroom so one can walk into crowds of folks one has never met and is never going to meet again.  Abraham Lincoln's statue isn't going to notice your mascara is smudged.

We've come all this way for a cause.  The Smithsonian, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, and 127 monuments await.  The itinerary has been planned down to the hour, minute and second.  There is little discussion or debate.  On vacation, I don't like doing nothing if we're there to see something.  There is a reason we have come and it is our immediate destiny to fulfill that cause.

Because of all that, from time to time and for some inexplicable reason, there has been conflict on our trips - and sometimes the reason for the conflict is about the cause.  Because for one member of the family, the cause is about seeing everything on the Washington, DC Chamber of Commerce website.  (Ahem.  Major clearing of throat.)

But for another, the cause is to relax.
For still another, the cause is trying more restaurants than we have days.
For another, it is applying and re-applying mascara.
And for another, the cause is that this is supposed to be a week without causes.

Everyone needs a cause.  Why are we doing what we're doing?  Because without a unified cause or with an unsatisfying cause, the community will deteriorate.

And we must never under any circumstances allow that to happen.

And be blessed.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.  

I cannot overstate the importance that every person who calls him- or herself a believer in Christ arrives at the Biblical position that all human life is sacred.  Holy.  Note that it isn't the Sanctity of Canine Life Sunday -- or Feline -- or Bovine -- or Equine -- or Arachnid ---- but the Sanctity of HUMAN Life Sunday.  Your Jack Russell Terrier is not holy.  If there is such a thing as one of those other Sundays, I'm going to - with all due respect - feign ongoing ignorance.

God said at the start up: "Let Us make male and female in Our image."  

Imago Dei.

'If lilies matter -- how much more sacred is human life?'

That doesn't mean God has two blue eyes, a slightly oversized yet tremendously dignified nose, a little graying at the temples and veins that nurses can always easily find (that would be if I was made in His 'image').

But -- we are intellectual creatures.  We are moral creatures.  We are to have dominion over the created order.  God made us a 'little lower than the angels' - ruler over all things - everything under our feet.

He gave us the capacity, like Himself, to love and be loved - to have compassion - mercy - to have and express dignity, value and worth.

He saw us before we were in our mother's womb and created good works in advance for us to do -- before we were ever a seed in anyone's mind but His own.

Because of that, all human life has dignity -- it all has value -- worth.  If a sparrow matters -- if lilies matter -- how much more sacred is human life?

Since the decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973, nearly 55 million children have been aborted in our country.  That is more than the populations of North & South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana combined.

Think of it.

This is not, at its deepest core, a political issue.  This is a God issue.  We make it something extremely important to us about once every four years.  That's when we get in each other's red faces about it.  God cares about it every day.

You've heard me say before - I just said it earlier this week here:  Government will not save us - government won't fix this.  Utterly impossible.  We should, quite frankly, stop putting that pressure on government.

Should we vote?  Yes.
Should we have political views?  Sure.
But how rabid should we be about all of that compared to how much we just love Jesus?

I've seen two believers in the church lobby 'round about late October in years divisible by 4 yelling (literally) and shoving fingers in each other's faces over abortion/election issues.  I have yet to see two people shouting each other down to prove who loves Jesus more.

We don't show the measure of our love for God by our viewpoint on the sanctity of human life one way or the other, however passionate we may be.  That's backward.  Our position about the sanctity of human life flows from our relationship with Christ.  

That's why government and elections (yes, you should vote) will never deliver us.  Only our relationship with Jesus will save us.  What flows out of that relationship will drive our actions, belief systems, values -- as well as our grace for those who haven't yet seen that light.

Let's pray together that all human life might be valued and become sacred in our country.

(NOTE:  If you have had an abortion, there is forgiveness, grace and mercy after-the-fact.  There are great, local organizations like CareNet who reach out to women who have had abortions as well as to the men impacted by such decisions.  Find more information in the Southeast Wisconsin area at

Live …

And be blessed.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


It was years ago now but I once got a letter from my car insurance company stating that they were going to be raising my premiums to such astronomic rates that, for all intents and purposes, they were dropping me.  It was all due to a series of unfortunate events that happened with me, my daughters, and vehicles.

Let's just leave it at that.

'God makes dirty people right in His sight.'

They weren't going to drop me because I had failed to pay the premiums.
They weren't going to drop me because I was late with paperwork.
They were going to drop me because I had made too many mistakes.

I'm the first to admit we aren't perfect drivers, but I thought that was the reason we had insurance in the first place … because we aren't perfect drivers.

So, I bought insurance to cover my mistakes and then I get dropped because I made mistakes.  Sure.

M. Lucado says: 'What if heaven had limitations in its coverage?'

What if you got a letter from the Pearly Gate Underwriting Division:
'Dear Mr. Taylor:  I'm writing in response to this morning's request for forgiveness.  I'm sorry to inform you that you've reached your quota.  Jesus sends His regrets and kindest regards and hopes you find another comparable form of coverage.'

Romans 4 makes an incredible claim:  'People can't do any work that will make them right with God.  So they must trust Him, who makes even evil people right in His sight.'

Even evil people?  Yes.

We expect God to justify the clean ... but the dirty?  Yes.  God makes dirty people right in His sight.

Man has no way … but God has a way.

And be blessed.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


I suppose you know that you can buy 'fake scents.'

Put up your artificial Christmas tree and spray the scent of real Christmas tree around the room.  Sneaky.  Fake-tree-in-a-spray-bottle.

I've been thru the car wash and seen bottles that say, 'New Car In a Can.'  You don't have to buy the new car anymore - just get the liquid.  For a while, if I close my eyes - not while I'm driving - I can fool myself into thinking my 2006 is really brand new.

The little canisters hooked on the inside of your toilet that makes everything smell like roses.  Really?  Did that fool you?  Do you really think your mom has been in there arranging flowers?

Candles of every scent.

'If you're walking in the presence of God, you're going to be hot.'

Liquid smoke.  You pour it on your entree and it gives meat the flavor of having been smoked.  Fake smoke.  What will they think of next?

Whatever you're around is what you'll smell like.  When you're around real fire, there's real smoke.  You can't fake that.  If you're walking in the presence of God, you're going to be hot.  There isn't anything lukewarm about being in God's presence.  People smell the smoke on you.

Get on fire.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


The enemies of the church in the 21st century aren't national.  They aren't ethnic.  They aren't racial.  They aren't political.  We don't war against flesh and blood, but against rulers of this present darkness - against wickedness in heavenly places - against principalities and powers.

'We aren't at war as Christ-followers against Iraq.'

We aren't at war as Christ-followers against Iraq.  We are in a battle that belongs to the Lord - and it's won by us opening our mouths with truth and love and by stretching out our hands in compassion and service.

The great battle today isn't fought with swords or elections or picket signs, but with the Gospel of the crucified, risen Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit with words of truth and deeds of love, and all that backed by prayer . . . and then the victory will come.

It will.

And be blessed.

Monday, January 13, 2014


As small as you feel - as weak as you feel - as insignificant as you feel - you should never say you are not connected to God.

God chose a peasant virgin to carry His only Son.  That same Son lived a sinless life and ultimately walked to a hill with a cross and was crucified there - in your place, as your substitute - because God loved you.

So it is an absolute non-sequitir to say: "I'm small - I'm nobody - I am not significantly connected to the plan of God Almighty.

'Wee, small, little you is deeply connected.'

Absolutely wrong.  Wee, small, little you is deeply connected.

You are why He came.

And be blessed.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


In the 1990s the show 'Roseanne' was a popular TV sitcom.  It starred comedienne Roseanne Barr and was the story of a working class family struggling with life's essential problems:  marriage, children, money, in laws --- but presented in a rather coarse way.

The last year of the struggling Roseanne series was the same year Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet on the Oprah Winfrey Show to confess she was gay.  In anticipation of the follow-up announcement on her own show, the Ellen DeGeneres Show garnered an incredible 40% of the ratings.  In a final attempt to boost their own ratings that year, the producers of "Roseanne" wanted her to do something that would rival Ellen's coming out.

They said:  "Ellen did something that really got everybody's attention.  What can WE do that will shock the American public like that and get great ratings?"

Do you what they had the bawdy Roseanne do?  They had her pray on national television.

They had her pray.

Is it possible that real, heartfelt, honest prayer - to the American public - is just as shocking and counter-cultural as what Ellen did.

"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."  (James 5:16)

You want answers to life's problems?  Pray.
You want to be a powerful man or woman?  Pray.
You want to be like Christ?  Pray.
You want to see God's will done on earth as it is in heaven?  Pray.

And be blessed.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


A divorced person sitting in our church should never get the feeling that they're damaged goods.  Do I agree with divorce?  No.  In fact, if you come into my office telling me you're the one legitimate exception on the planet of someone who has Biblical grounds for divorce (along with the other eight who beat you to it that week), I'm probably going to tell you you're not the exception.  Ninety-five percent of the time I'm going to lovingly look you in the eye and tell you that.

God wants you staying in your marriage.  I know it's painful - I know it's difficult - I know it's unhappy - God wants you there and He wants to heal it.

There's a narrative in the New Testament book of Mark where Jesus heals a man with a withered hand.  Instead of a standing ovation from the crowd, the religious leaders went out and began to plot how they might kill Jesus.

Doesn't that make great sense?  'Hey, Jesus just healed some guy's hand on the Sabbath and now it's like brand new … it's a total miracle … let's kill Him.'

But that's what religion does.  It places obeying rules ahead of loving people.

'Jesus called people to the front that religion pushed to the back.'

God said He hated divorce.  But he doesn't hate divorcees.  The reason He hates divorce is because He loves people.

But this post isn't really about divorce, believe it or not.  It's about loving people the way Jesus loved them.

And what's your job, mature believer in Christ?  If you're wondering what place you have in the church when it seems to be about people who need to find Jesus, well, you get to be the one standing there with your arms wide open, welcoming the hurting in.  You get to be the one who stands up front and says:
"Hey you, with the shriveled hand … come here."
"You - with the prison sentence … come here."
"You - struggling in your marriage … come here."
"You - confused and hurting about your sexual identity … over here."

Jesus called people to the front that religion pushed to the back.

That should be us -- every day.

And be blessed.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Over the years of doing church, some of the actual things (I am not making this up) that have been said to me by well-meaning church folk are:

The church is too showy.
The church is too culturally relevant.
The church isn't relevant enough.
You use too many props.
There aren't enough hymns.
We sing too many old songs.
You should dress up as a pastor.
Why don't you wear regular clothes like the rest of us?
There isn't enough singing.
There's too much singing.
It's too loud.
Turn it up.
Stand up when you speak.
I like it when you sit and speak.
Use the pulpit.
Use a table.
It's too dark.
It isn't dark enough.
Where's the cross?
Where's the flag?
What happened to the organ?
Why so many guitars?
Can we have more guitars?
Lose the drums.
Be less political.
Be more political.
Too much preaching from the Old Testament.
Too much preaching from the New Testament.
You use too many Scriptures.
You should use more Scriptures.
It's too topical.
I'd like something more topical.
It's too deep.
It isn't deep enough.
Service is too long.
Service isn't long enough.
It's too cold.
It's too hot.

Wait here while I go unscrew my head and toss it thru the window.

Isn't it funny how religion takes what God intended to benefit people and uses it to hurt and divide them?

Here's what God has called us to be:  A church that looks to bless people - heal people - reach out to people - help people - see people changed by the power of God - accept people - love people.

'Jesus is looking for the slightest crack in the door.'

Because Jesus is looking for the slightest crack in the door -- any opportunity to transform people's lives by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It's been true since Jesus came to earth.

But the religious leaders were always looking for an opportunity to criticize.  Their notepads were out - their glasses were down on their noses - all the while fresh from memorizing Scripture, their King James Bibles heavy on their laps.

God wants our church to be a place for the overlooked - a place for the unloved - for the forgotten.  We're involved in the very greatest thing that can ever happen in the life of an individual.

Let's be more than OK with that.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


I am not the man I should be.

At some point in our lives, we are all confronted with that fact.  Well, if you're a woman, not exactly, but you get my point.

Almost always, our basic response to that is to pull up our bootstraps -- roll up our sleeves -- try a little harder -- turn over a new leaf -- etc etc etc.

You've probably found out
what I've found out about that approach.  Doesn't work.  Dead end.  Every time.  You cannot do this Jesus thing by putting enough elbow grease to it.

'If you don't live for Christ, you'll live for something else.'

The solution isn't to change our behavior, but to re-orient and center our entire hearts to Christ.  If I'm a grass field, all the cutting will keep the grass less, but it will never produce wheat.  If I want wheat, I must be plowed up and re-sown.

Does that scare you?  I know.

But remember this:  If you don't live for Christ, you'll live for something else.  That much is inevitable.

God says, "I don't want just this much of your time and this much of your money and this much of your attention and this much of your life so your natural self can have the rest.  I want all of you.  So hand over your desires - not just the ones you think wicked - but the ones you think innocent - the whole outfit."

And be blessed.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I don't have HBO in my house.  There are probably some really great movies I'm missing because of that, but I don't want to take the chance that in a moment of weakness, I'll give in to something I shouldn't.

'Don't tell me you want to get over it if you're blatantly inviting it into your home.'

Don't tell me you want to get over it if you're blatantly inviting it into your home.  That doesn't make any sense.  You have to be willing to do something about it.

Maybe you've said, "God, deliver me from materialism," and then you're at the outlet mall (or Lowe's) three times a week.


You have to cut it off at the root.  Unplug it.  Don't just pray, 'God, drive it out.'  You starve it.

You aren't going to close this page and never make another mistake.  If that's what you're looking for, the solution is simple -- die.  But you can live on the earth and, step by step, gradually come to be more and more like Christ.

So when you sin - not if, but when - there are two possible first reactions.  One is smart … the other not so smart.  You can run TO God (that's the smart one) -- or you can run AWAY from God (um … yeah.)

For years, my reaction when I sinned was to run away, not realizing that was when I most needed Him.  That's actually what the enemy of your soul wants you to do.  But it's time to get smart.  And that means running TO God because He's the One who has provided a way to be forgiven and to start over.

Try it this year.

And be blessed.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Joelene and 7 amazing women left for India today --- pray for them.

And be blessed.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


I know you aren't completely who you want to be just yet - but look at it this way, you aren't who you used to be either.  God is changing you.

'You may not be totally there yet, but at least you're stepping.'

So take courage, follower of Christ, you're moving the right direction.  You may not be totally there yet but at least you're stepping.

Can you take some joy in that?

God isn't finished.  He wants to heal you - He wants to work in you and do the most life-changing things imaginable in areas you never thought possible.

And be blessed.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


It bothers me a great deal that our great and awesome God - who delivered the Israelites - who parted the Red Sea - who drowned Pharaoh and all his armies - who saved us thru the death and resurrection of Jesus - who could wave His magic wand over me - maybe sprinkle some holy dust on my head and make it so I'd never be susceptible to temptation again ---- doesn't.

I know I'm a new man by His salvation.  I know my heart has become new.  So why doesn't He automatically make it possible for me to just get along with everybody now?  Why am I not a perfectly selfless, sacrificial, patient, disciplined guy?


I think one of the reasons might be that if He did, I wouldn't really need Him any longer.  And if He did, I suppose the wild animals of self-reliance and independence and arrogance would rush out of their closets and gang up on me and soon I'd be in a worse state than when I started.

'God is all you have and God is all you need.'

In order to continue the process of life brokenness that is so necessary for the Christ walk - so you know God is all you have and God is all you need, He allows changes to come, but they come little by little - not all at once, but day by day - week by week - month by month - year by year - battle by battle - small group session by small group session - worship time by worship time - message by message - Scripture by Scripture - brick by brick ----- God is making you like Christ.

And be blessed.

Friday, January 3, 2014


Ever feel that what you're going thru is way bigger than you?  It's impossible to overcome.  Your dad did it and his dad did it -- it's generational.  And no matter how much you want to do better - promise to do better - pray you'll do better - get people around you to do better - you still can't get it working right.

Raise your hand right now if you've ever felt that way.  (Are you doing it?)

Here's what you need to know.  God brought you out before and He'll bring you out again.  He has a plan.  He has a history of doing something amazing in your life.

'God isn't content to just clean up your life a little bit.'

God isn't content to just clean up your life a little bit -- He wants to mess with everything in you that doesn't look like Jesus.  He wants to invade every dark spot, shine into every small corner, no room left untouched.

The greatest part of this news is that God is for you -- and He'll send every hornet at his disposal into every enemy in your life and He'll keep right on sending them until every part of your heart and life are subject to Him.

You may struggle, but the God you serve is a great and awesome God.

He's got this.

And be blessed.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


C. Sandburg said: 'It is necessary … for a man to go away by himself … to sit on a rock .. and ask, 'Who am I?  Where have I been?  Where am I going?'

One of the only ways to get those questions answered is by being alone … with God … away from noise, away from clamor, away from distraction.

'Solitude is Godly; isolation is deadly.'

Maybe the second day of a brand new year is a terrible time to be talking about this, but it seems it would be at the very top of each of our 'To Be' lists this year.

Be with God.
Be alone.
Be connected to Him.
Be near to Him.
Just Be.

This isn't isolation, it's solitude.  They're very different.  We aren't in burnout mode where we have to dip into a cave in order to just survive.  Instead, we're aware that what we require more than anything is to hear God and receive from Him what we need so that we don't become burned out.

Solitude is Godly; isolation is deadly.  But if we don't get the former right, we'll inevitably wind up experiencing the latter.

Jesus modeled this for us.  Get alone somewhere and check out:
Matthew 14:23
Mark 6:31
Luke 4:42; 5:16

Put solitude on your "BE" list this year.

And BE blessed.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


… for the new year …

"As we stand on the summit of a new year, God, we confess our undeniable need for You these next 12 months -- for Your presence -- Your guidance -- Your voice.

We submit our hopes and expectations to You.  Only You can give us the strength and wisdom we need to meet the challenges that, as of today, we are unaware of but which will surely come.

We put our finite hands into Your great and infinite Hands.  We express full trust in Your ways and thoughts and humbly yield ourselves completely to Your perfect will.  We may not know what lies ahead but we are assured of Your sovereignty and unchanging love.

When temptations come and stubborn self-will rears its head, help us not to lose our way but to be utterly sold out to Your plan, regardless of the cost or difficulty.

Open our eyes and our hands to the injustice all around us.  Enable us to live for others rather than for ourselves.  Let us respond with compassion and sacrifice to those hurting and in need.

Help us turn from our wicked ways, seek Your face, humble ourselves and pray like never before this year.  Bring peace and justice to a dangerous world.  Protect those in service to our country around the world.  Bless and lead those in positions of leadership in our nation - our cities - our churches.  Give protection.

Give us a greater vision of what You would have us be.  May we know You far better at the end of this year than we do today.

Bless families.
Heal marriages.
Give us health.
Unify us.
Provide as never before.
Let peace rule and reign in our lives.

Thank You for your grace and goodness in 2013 - far beyond what we deserved.  Give us a double portion in 2014.

This we ask in the beautiful Name of Jesus.  Amen."

And be blessed.