Thursday, May 29, 2014


This life isn't just about trying to be moral.

Don't drink - don't chew - don't run with girls who do.

That becomes the Gospel to many, but it isn't the Gospel.  That kind of Gospel is how you wind up being a bitter church person because bitter church people walk away from plenty and expect you too as well, but they don't walk toward the right things.  They don't walk in love.  They don't walk in grace.  They don't walk in mercy.  They don't walk toward who Christ has made them to be.  They just walk away from stuff.

'This life isn't just about trying to be moral.'

'You are a chosen generation - a royal priesthood - a holy nation - a people belonging to God.'  (I Peter 2)

You're set apart.  I'm not talking biologically or ethnically or socially or in any way superior to others.  You're holy.

That's who you are.  Walk toward Jesus to get there.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


What do you think?

Children imitate their parents.  They just do.  I hear my adult children using phrases I've used.  I see them gesturing in ways Joelene does.  I do some things the way my family did them.

The funny thing is, God tells us to imitate Him.  As dearly loved children, He says.

That's weird.  How do I imitate the eternal, all powerful, all knowing, all present, Creator of the Universe?

I guess as 'dearly loved children' we do it by living lives marked by love -- by walking away from sin and by walking toward Christ-likeness.

What do you think?

And be blessed.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Awhile back I was having lunch at a local eatery.  As I was finishing and ready to pay, the waitress came over and said, 'Sir, were you waiting on your bill?'

'Yes, I was just getting ready to ask you for it.'

'Well you aren't getting a bill today.'


'Yes.  While you were eating, a man seated over there paid for your lunch.'

'Wow!  That's fantastic.  Thank you.'

The next day I was having lunch with a friend at Perkins A couple different people from our church came in after me and one or two left before me.  At some point the waitress came over and said: 'Can I get you guys some dessert?'

'No thanks.  Just the check, please.'

'You know what?  You aren't getting a check.'


'Somebody paid for your lunch.'

'Goodness gracious.  Thank you.'

So the next day at lunchtime I went to Uke's Harley Davidson and hung out for awhile.

Nothing happened.

Oh well.

And be blessed.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Walt Disney used to live next door to our house in Kansas City.  (We call him 'W' for short.  This was before George 'W' Bush.)

When I say he lived next door to our house, I mean it.  We didn't live there at the time, but the house he used to live in was the house next door to the one we later moved in to -- 30 years later, but still ...   I'm just saying ...

I love the story of W Disney.  He built Disneyland in California and everybody said: 'This is it.  Incredible.  There will never be anything that rivals this.  Nothing will ever come close.'

And in the '60s it was the most wonderful theme park anywhere in the world.  Everyone thought it was absolutely the wildest - the greatest - the most stupendous ---- everyone except W.

While everyone else was enjoying Disneyland, W went to Florida.  He started looking for property where he could unleash his imagination in a way that would put Disneyland to shame.

One day he found some land and said to his realtor: 'This is it!  This is where I'll build it.'

But his real estate agent, otherwise known as Steve Wozniak, scoffed: 'You don't want to buy that!  That's nothing but swampland.  You can sure get it dirt cheap, but you don't want it.'

'That's what I want and that's what I'll get.'

And that's where he built it.

'Jesus saw people for who they could become rather than for who they were at the moment.'

If you've ever been to Disneyworld in Florida, you know part of the ambience is riding the monorail right over top of miles of swampland.  Then all of a sudden, you see the Magic Kingdom come into view in front of you.

W didn't live long enough to see the dedication of Disneyworld.  He died just before the opening.  At the dedication, one of Disney's friends leaned over and said to Disney's widow: 'I wish Walt could have seen this.'

She answered, 'He did.  If he hadn't, none of us would be sitting here now.'

There are people who have an incredible gift for seeing things not as they are, but for what they can be multiplied to become.

Jesus did that with people all the time.  He saw them for who they could become rather than for who they were at the moment.  He saw them for their possibilities rather than for the problems.

He does that with us, too.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


We should listen to ourselves in our sometimes interactions with God ...

ME:  'God, why are You idly standing by while (fill in the blank) happens?'

GOD:  'I'm not idle, dude.  Anything but.'

ME:  'Well, it sure seems like You are.  I don't know why You aren't showing Your plan for everybody to see right now.'

GOD:  'Why don't you shut up and trust My plan?'

ME:  'My mom told me to never say "Shut up."'

GOD:  'Shut up.'

ME:  'Well, I don't know if I really like the plan You're putting forward right now.  It doesn't seem like You're really going to come thru.'

GOD:  'Didn't I just tell you to shut up?'

ME:  'But what are You doing, God?'

GOD:  'I know what I'm doing?'

ME:  'Are you sure?'


And be blessed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Everybody needs encouragement.

It leads us toward good choices.

It helps us get along.

It gives us hope.

It brings us thru times of difficulty.

It prevents burnout.

'I think we need more people in the world who encourage others.'

You'd think since encouragement is one of the most important things in life, that more people would be busy with it.  But it's kind of rare to find a person who regularly encourages others.

'Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.'  (Proverbs 16:24)

All day long we are rubbing off on each other.  Some of those contacts produce positive results - others not so much.  When we encourage someone, we become an example of God with 'skin on.'  God will put you in strategic places to encourage others with just the right words at just the right time.

Best of all, the ultimate source of encouragement is God.  He sent His Son to earth to die for you and me.  When we sin, He sticks with us.  How about that for encouragement?  It boggles the mind.  We're so microscopic and yet the God of the universe is with us.  His Holy Spirit lives inside us.

You want to have a big funeral?  Learn to be an encourager.

'Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.'  (Hebrews 3:13)

And be blessed.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


I have been friends with Brad & Rebekah Bichsel for years now.  Their passion for music, God and the Watoto of Uganda is inspiring.

Their song, 'The Heart of the Father' is the story of the Watoto.

Here is a music video of the song ... 

You can get the song at iTunes here:  All proceeds go to the Watoto -- to rescue, raise up and rebuild their nation.

Also see  and

And be blessed.

Friday, May 16, 2014


There are those who think slavery is pretty much a thing of the past.  Not so.

In a video: 'Top Ten Facts About the "S" Word,' we're told:

- Slaves are still forced to work without pay and under threat of violence, unable to simply walk away.

- There are 27 million slaves in the world today.

- There are over 14,000 slaves trafficked into the United States every year.

- Slaves work in almost any place you can imagine -- fields, homes, businesses, brothels ... 

- The modern day slave trade is called 'human trafficking.'

- The cost of an average 'slave' today is $90.

- We could end slavery within the next 25 years.

'There are those who think slavery is pretty much a thing of the past.'

It's a problem all over the world in 2014.  We can be thankful for organizations like Project Rescue, Exploit No More, The Tamar Center-YWAM Thailand, The Exodus Road, The Polaris Project, The Salvation Army and The A21 Campaign, all who help bring awareness, help and hope to those in labor and sexual slavery.

Join us in Kenosha for Hope Run Kenosha on Saturday morning, June 6th, to raise awareness in our own area of Southeast Wisconsin.  For more info, see 'Hope Run Kenosha: Stop the Traffick' on Facebook or at this link: 

And be blessed.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


The very first Project Rescue Human Trafficking Summit is being held this week in New York City.  Joelene and I have the privilege of attending.

Project Rescue has outreaches in Tajikistan, Moldova, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Spain, which has quickly become the new epicenter for human trafficking in all of Western Europe.  Project Rescue is a ministry to women and children in sexual slavery focused on providing physical, emotional and spiritual restoration.

We believe God is calling us to support these kinds of efforts.

This is why Journey Church is putting together Hope Run Kenosha in a few weeks - a 5K run to raise awareness to 'stop the trafficking.'

'Stop the traffick.'

This is why Journey Church believes in ministry to orphans and foster children in need of homes.  Our goal is to erase the roll of foster children in our county over the next several years.

The Scriptures are saturated with the language of family.  The Father sent His only Son in order to gain His adopted children.  Not that they would simply become part of a church or a ministry or a cause - but be part of His family.

That's part of our story with God.  That whatever belongs to Him also belongs to His family - you - me.  Heaven is our inheritance.  It's why we store up treasures there, not here.

That's why everyone who walks in to our church as a spiritual orphan and gives his/her life to Christ walks out a spiritual son/daughter of God ---- not to mention a brother/sister of ours.

Stop the traffick.

And be blessed.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing moms out there.

My own journey is blessed.

A wife and best friend who has been an incredible mom to our three daughters ...

and a fantastic mom of my own who did it all.

Have a great Mother's Day.

And be blessed.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


On my recent trip to Haiti I witnessed some of the after-affects of the hurricane that struck this island nation four years ago.  Estimates of the number of fatalities are in the six figures.  As a result the country was devastated, homes and valuables were forever lost, many children became orphaned -- years later still grasping even for one day's meal.

My visit took me to various schools and orphanages -- and to the distribution center for Convoy of Hope -- which feeds 100,000 Haitians a day.

During the stay I was made aware of the FeedOne ministry, part of Convoy.

Mother Teresa said: 'If you can't find a hundred, just feed one.'  Food and water is something most Americans take for granted.  But in many countries, daily bread is not assumed.  And that shouldn't be.

FeedOne partners with people like you and me in order to bring nutrition and sustenance to places like Haiti.  Ten dollars a month is all it costs to feed one child in Haiti for one month.  That's a couple of Starbucks and that's remarkable.  Ten dollars -- one child -- food for a month.

The really cool thing about FeedOne is that our church gets the opportunity to help, support, feed and bless ONE PARTICULAR COMMUNITY in Haiti.  Our resources don't go to random, unknown locations in Haiti, but to one specific place.  In the case of Journey Church, that place is called Mixte Mamaliga, a school of 600 K-6 graders just north of the capital, Port-Au-Prince.  Those are some of the Mamaliga students in the pic.

They're waiting for us to make the connection now.

The amazing bonus to this partnership is that FeedOne is making it possible for Journey Church to visit this exact location next year to work on their school and love on the very same kids we're supporting.

Here's a video I made while I was there ...

This is the call of God on our lives, Journey Church -- to be sacrificial, to love widows and orphans, to help the poor, to bring Jesus to the under-resourced and to let our light shine.  Let's make it happen.

And be blessed.

Monday, May 5, 2014


When Adam and Eve were in the Garden, who sinned first?

It isn't a trick question.

Eve did.

Then God comes along and calls out Adam.  Seems fair.

It isn't that Eve didn't get hers.  Women still experience junk today explicitly because Eve messed up. And yet, God held the man primarily accountable.

Romans 5 double teams that.  It says because of the man's sin, the whole race fell.

What does that mean for you and me, sir?  At least this: that the well being of your wife and children are your responsibility.

'Your call, gentlemen, is to lead like Jesus.'

Not that they won't have to stand on their own two feet when they meet their Maker - but if you've been privileged to have a wife and/or children, you'll be called to answer for how you've led them and cared for them.

Who thinks that's unfair?  Who knows that's unfair and yet right?

Paul said the woman is the glory of man.  That means if she's prospering and blessed and flourishing, it should be in large part because of his loving involvement and investment.

Your call, gentlemen, is to lead like Jesus.  That translates to you being the one to give most - sacrifice first - apologize best - care for most.

Just as you as a man are anatomically positioned to move toward a woman (which we all get), it's the same way spiritually.  You move toward her.  You guide her.  You love her.  You care for her.  You serve her.  You sacrifice for her.  You initiate with her.

Let's lead like Jesus, men.

And be blessed.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Every married woman should be submitting to her husband, doing what he says, obeying, respecting and serving him with joy and grace.

Boy, it's so easy to get you to click the link when I start out like that.  Such an easy mark.  

But since you're here ... 

'The language of the Bible is covenant language.'

When it says, 'Submit to each other' --- 'Love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it' --- 'Leave father and mother ... hold fast to one another ... become one flesh' --- 'Love her ... respect him.'

That's all covenant language.

Marriage is to be a covenant.  That's an unbreakable, inviolable, irrevocable agreement between two parties.  Actually, God makes some uni-lateral covenants in the Bible -- that's a covenant with Himself (i.e. the rainbow) -- that is unbreakable no matter what you and I do.

Salvation is part of the new covenant.  God enters into that covenant with us and says: 'I'll be your God and you'll be My people;  I'll never leave you or turn my back on you.'   

Covenant language.

Likewise, a husband looks at his wife and says, 'I'll be your husband and you'll be my wife and we'll make a people together;  I'll never leave you or turn my back on you.'

That isn't contractual language; that's covenantal language.

In business you have contracts.  When you sign up for a credit card, you sign a contract.  When you buy a house, you sign a contract.  When you lease a car, you sign a contract.  But the Bible doesn't present marriage in any way, shape or form as a contract.  It's a covenant.

Contract is about negotiating terms that benefit me.  But covenant is about your well-being and benefit.

Contractual thinking and language says, 'I'm here to get what I want.  I'm here to get what I need.  I've waited long enough for it.  I should be happy.  I have to have it now.  In fact, I deserve it.'

Covenantal thinking and language says, 'God wants me to become what you need.  God wants me to love you as you need.  God wants me to serve you as you need.  God wants me to sacrifice for you as you need.  God wants me to invest in you as you need.'

So as Jesus, the covenant head of the church, loves it and serves it, so the man as the covenant head of his wife and children, lovingly leads them so they are blessed and flourishing and growing in the grace of God.

And be blessed.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


JOURNEY CHURCH'S SHINE "SHE IS FEARLESS" WOMEN'S CONFERENCE is over -- the event, I mean -- but not the impact.  

Over 1,000 ladies gathered at the // Kenosha campus last night and this morning to hear Natalie Grant lead in singing and in concert --- and to hear Diane Wilson from Newport Church speak.

Every year this team (that's them at right) outdoes themselves with amazing energy, flair, passion, teamwork and vision to see women's lives encouraged, challenged, blessed and changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I love their creativity.  This year:
A Boutique
Mechanical Bull Riding
A Caged Lion
Carnival Games
Food Vendors
A Huge Tent in the Gym

Can't wait for next year - first Friday and Saturday of May, 2015.  Guests are Lisa TerKeurst, author of "UNGLUED" and "Proverbs 31 Ministries" --- and Lisa Seaton, team member at Rockford First Church, Rockford Illinois.


And be blessed.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


On this National Day of Prayer:

'For the tired and the weary lost and confused,
Hopeless and needy with nothing to lose,
For those who are falling or have already fallen away.

Because our hearts are exploding with compassion and love
For a world that is dying to be lifted up.

We pray - humbly we seek Your face,
Broken yet unafraid to be,
We leave it in Your Hands
And know You hear us when we pray.

Peace and forgiveness for the nations at war,
Strength in their weakness when they can take no more
Mercy, redemption, healing and for You to be Lord of all.

Our hearts are exploding with compassion and love
For a world that is crying to be lifted up.

Father in Heaven, the Giver of Life,
Your Kingdom forever be glorified.
You alone can unite us and heal our divide,
We bow down before You, Oh Lord, hear our cry.

We pray - humbly seek Your face,
And trust that You hear us when we pray."

--- Barlow Girl, Lyrics Warner Chappell Music

And be blessed.