Friday, June 27, 2014


Imagine that all the species got together and said: "We're going to form a committee and figure out what God would have to go thru to understand human suffering."

Poor people would say: 'I think He should be homeless.'
Grieving people would say:  'I think He should lose someone dear to Him.'
Outcasts would say:  'He should be rejected by society.'
Abuse victims would say:  'He should face serious physical violence, abandonment and betrayal.'

Then and only then should God have the right to say, 'I know what it is to suffer.'

Are you getting that?  Why would a loving God allow suffering?  Not only because a loving God allows you, but because a loving God suffered Himself.  He sent His Son to die on a cross and then that Holy Son was tempted like we are - experienced life like we do - shared limitations as you and I have -- without ever sinning.  Then He willingly walked to a cross to die a suffering death in our place - as our substitute - to pay the price for the sins of a world God deeply loved.

Next time we're tempted to doubt God and ask how in the world He could allow such suffering and evil to occupy the same planet as us, recall that He put Himself in a position of suffering -- to an extent far worse than any one of us reading has ever and shall ever experience.

And maybe that one fact answers this dilemma once for all - because that's the grand story of the Gospel, friends.  It all points to a species who have made a ton of wrong choices of their own free will while a loving Creator God beckons us to the safety of Himself and even more so when we face sufferings of all kinds.

And be blessed.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


In this final posting about the problem of evil and suffering in the world and God's place in it, we should ultimately ask ourselves this question:

"Why do you think evil or suffering is a problem at all?"

OK dude - you've gone right off the deep end.  Of course suffering is a problem.

But is it?

If we're just here by some chemical soup that evolved over billions of years as some believe -- if we're just here to propagate our genes to another generation and then die and be done as others believe -- if there's no Intelligent Designer who put all this together as many believe -- we shouldn't think suffering is a problem whatever, should we?

'That's the imprint of an Almighty God on your life.'

You've seen wild animal shows where the cuddly zebra is contentedly drinking from an African stream and then, from the left side of the TV screen, a lioness rushes in and all of a sudden there's zebra soufflé?

I'm just asking, what's wrong with that concept for humans - that the strong can kill the weak - if we're just here as the product of some accidental biological molecular explosion and there's no grand Moral Law Giver?  What's the big problem then?

If that's the case, what's wrong with the Holocaust?  It's just the strong killing the weak, like the animal kingdom.  Why don't we look at all that and say, "What a shame," and go on with our lives?  And yet, none of us do.

You'd consider someone inhumane who took that position.  But by what standard would they be inhumane, if there's no God and there's no moral law created by someone bigger than you?

Something huge inside us rises up and cries, 'No!  The suffering of human beings made in the image of God isn't right.'

And what I want you to see and understand is that it's God who has given you that sense.  Because if you just looked at the world created from a big boom, you'd conclude it's very natural that strong people kill weak people and who cares?

Yet we instinctively know that's wrong -- and that's the imprint -- not of a molecular crash -- but of an Almighty God on your life.  And at the end of the day, the answer to this whole dilemma is God's own Son, Jesus, who died on a cross for your sins - as your substitute - in your place - for a world God loved.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


If you've been following along the past couple of days, you know we're talking about evil and suffering and the kinds of questions we might ask ourselves and others when faced with the dilemma of reconciling those concepts with the idea of a loving God.

The next question we might ask when sorting thru and searching for answers is:  Where do you draw the line between who should be allowed to cause suffering by their free choices and who shouldn't?

At what level should God intervene?  We might agree He shouldn't allow the very worst offenders to go unpunished - the Hitlers - the Osama Bin Ladens - but what about the next level of offender, whatever that level might be, and who would decide that?  Serial rapists, child abusers, felons?

Should God step in and stop their free will choices?  Some would say 'absolutely' to that -- others would say 'no' -- and if you'd say 'yes,' then what about the next level of offender, whatever that level might be, and who would decide that?  Drunk drivers who kill people, burglars, bullies, shoplifters, people who double park, jaywalkers?

'Why does a loving God allow suffering?  Because a loving God allows you.'

Because if we keep going with that, shortly we'd make our way down to some of us, wouldn't we?  So that we were now some of the most evil people in the world.

And ultimately someone would say: 'God, that Kevin Taylor, did You see what he did?  Why do You allow him, since he's now the most evil person in the world?'

What we'd really be saying is, 'For God to destroy all suffering, He'd ultimately have to destroy me.'  Think about that.  Why does a loving God allow suffering?  Because a loving God allows you.

The alternative is that God would make it possible for evil people like you and me to turn from their lives of self-centeredness and trust Him to live others-centered lives and that He'd give us the power to do it.

And there it is - because that's exactly what the Christian Gospel is all about.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Here's the next question about evil and suffering in the world today ...

Do you believe it's possible to have free choice and not have any suffering?

Because that really is the point of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis 3.  It represents human decision to either do what is right or what is wrong.  It's either my way or it's God's way.  Those are the choices.  'I'm not taking my orders from You.  I'll do what I well please.'  That particular choice faces every human on a very routine basis.

Remember when you've had a family or friend argument and your response was to leave the room and go pout?  And you knew the quickest way to forgiveness and relational health was to get up, go back there and apologize.  But would you?

No.  You sat somewhere stewing and wallowing in it and replaying it and getting angrier and angrier.  'I'm not going out there to say I was wrong,' even though you knew you were -- even though you knew the quickest route to happiness and healing was to march back over there and put an end to it.  You knew exactly what to do, but would you do it?

What was happening right there?  You were making the personal free will choice to prioritize your independence above the happiness of your family or friend.  You were taking the position to refuse to submit to someone other than yourself.

Look at it this way.  For me to have free choice means I can do whatever I want to without repercussion.  So I can just decide to go over and slap my friend.  But in order for God to stop my friend from suffering, He'd have to stop me from exercising my free personal will choice to do it to him.  God would have to stop me from doing something I had decided I wanted to do in order for my friend not to suffer.


Or ... last year in the United States there were over 35,000 traffic fatalities.  Many more people were incapacitated or seriously injured by accidents all caused by free will choices made by people like you and me, deciding how much they'd drink before getting behind the wheel of a car -- deciding how fast they'd step on the accelerator -- loads of pain and suffering, all casualties of free will choices.

For all that suffering to go away, God would have to wipe out our personal free choice.  He'd have to stop you and me from choosing what we do when we
get in a car.

Why doesn't God stop all that, particularly when He knows it's going to cause pain, hurt, suffering -- even death?

Because for those things not to happen, God would have to remove the perpetrator's free choice -- and with the removal of his free choice, by the way, the removal of the ability to make a free choice to ever love or give his life to Christ -- because those are also free will decisions.

The only way it would be possible to have free choice without any suffering is if you and I - every single time - chose to do what was in the best interest of everyone else rather than the best interest of ourselves ---- which incidentally, is what Jesus said was the sum idea of the Gospel in the first place:  "Love your neighbor as yourself."

And with that, the Gospel comes full circle - that the only way to have a suffering free world with free choice is if we all followed the path of God 24/7.

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Evil exists.  Can we just say that?  It's incontrovertible, isn't it?  Evil exists.  It exists obviously - it exists massively - it exists dominantly in the world today.

Forget about natural evil - the kind of evil that is random and external - the kind of evil that strikes at you anonymously and has no personal vendetta against you but leaves you stunned and paralyzed nonetheless whenever it hits tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, fires, diseases, etc.

Forget about that.  Let's talk about moral evil.  Evil that is personal -- intentional -- internal.  It's what the Bible means when it says 'there is no one good; not even one.'  It's what the Bible means when it says 'the heart of man was only evil continually.'  It's what the Bible means when it says 'out of the heart of man lust is conceived and when full grown brings death.'

One of the more difficult questions of life is why God would allow evil and pain and suffering to reach us.  It has boggled the minds and hearts of believers and unbelievers alike down thru the centuries.

'Evil exists massively and dominantly in the world today.'

If there is evil, then there has to, by definition, also be good.  How do you know something is evil if there isn't a standard of good to define that evil?  And if there's good, then there must be a moral law by which good is defined.  It can't just be random.  Something has to give us the boundary for what is good and what is evil.  And if there's a moral law, there has to be a moral law giver.  Who's going to decide what is moral?  You?  Me?  An ethics committee?  The courts?  The government?  

No.  There has to be a law above you - above me - above humanity - for it to be a true moral law.  And there has to be a moral law giver to provide that for us.

But if there is no moral law giver - if there's no God - then there can't possibly be a moral law.  What would be the point?  And if there's no moral law, there can't really be good -- and if there's no such thing as good, then by definition, there is no such thing as evil.

Over the rest of this week, I'll explore in this blog the ramifications and question of suffering and evil in the world today.  

Stay tuned.

And be blessed.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Most people - when asked if they've ever caused someone else suffering, will say, "Yes."  They don’t mean they've killed or assaulted anyone --- but they've caused suffering.

Haven't you?  

Ever come out of your mother’s womb?  I bet she didn’t on the one hand appreciate that very much.  Kinda smarted, I bet.

Ever caused a car accident?

Ever divorced anybody?  'Yeah, but that was mostly THEM, not me.’  I know you were practically Mother Teresa in that whole thing, but were any of your actions suffering-inducing?  I’m just asking.

Have you ever gossiped?  Would you put that in the category of causing others to suffer?  You should because it does.

Have you ever insulted someone or been sarcastic toward them?

Most of us would say “Yes” to some of that.  We've exercised our personal freedom at the expense of someone else.

As we ask: ‘God, why would You allow suffering?’  God says back:  ‘Let me ask you, “Has there been any suffering from your own hand?”’

In that we come face-to-face with the truth that maybe the problem of evil isn’t about God at all; maybe it's about us.  Maybe the line of good and evil doesn’t go between me and God - maybe it goes straight down the middle of me. 

We’ve always thought we were one of the goodies - but we've done essentially what Adam did in the Garden and said:  ‘I don’t care if this causes someone else to suffer; I’m having exactly what I want,’ so maybe we’re not innocent in this whole problem of evil.  Because I produce suffering.  Not all the time - not sadistically - not even always intentionally - but I do.

Yes, some people do worse things than others.  We could say we’re not as bad as the Nazis certainly, but the fundamental problem with the Nazis and Kevin Taylor and the drunk driver and the rapist and YOU are the same -- we’re prepared to put our happiness ahead of the suffering we might cause someone else.

The line of good and evil goes down the middle of us - and that's a huge point, isn’t it?

And be blessed.

Friday, June 20, 2014


Time flies.  Thirty-three years ago today --- June 20, 1981 --- I married a beautiful lady - inside and out - Joelene Marie Hardt.  

The story of the first time we ever met has oft been told - it was on the campus of Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.  It was 1979.  I was introduced to Joelene by her brother Darrell, who was already a junior on campus, as was I.

She tells the story that I ignored her in that first moment - the only lad in the group of lads she was introduced to who did so.  My version is that I was stalking her from that second forward - like a caged lion - peeking from the tall grasses - waiting for my opportunity - not too seemingly eager, but knowing beyond doubt now which gazelle I wanted.

(Was that weird just then?)

Anyway -- since then, she has been the LoVE of my life --
Stunningly beautiful (those eyes!) -
Incredibly gifted --
Amazingly wise --
Awesomely caring --
Wonderfully Godly --
Shockingly patient --
Fascinatingly interesting --
Surprisingly multi-faceted --
The LoVE of my life.

'I carry your heart with me
I am never without it
Anywhere I go, you go, my dear
And whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling
I fear no fate
For you are my fate, my sweet
I want no world
For beautiful, you are my world
You are whatever a moon has always meant
And whatever a sun will always sing is you.

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
And the sky of the sky of a tree called life
Which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide
This is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart.

I carry your heart in my heart.'    -- E.E. Cummings

Joelene Hardt Taylor -- you have only grown more beautiful to me over the years.  Let time go on.

I am blessed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


If you're going to take a dream and make it your life, you have to have a dream that's worth your life. As many people as are reading this, that's how many dreams are present -- dreams for career -- dreams for family -- dreams for future ...

Did you know we were created with an insatiable curiosity and a built-in creativity that we often lose as we get older?

Here's a little brain teaser for you.  Which of these numbers is most different from the others?
1     One
2     Eleven
3     Thirteen

I'm providing some space here so you don't look and cheat.  Get back up there and figure it out.


If you're like most people, you concentrated on the 'spelled out' numbers -- one, eleven and thirteen.  But who told you to ignore the 'notational' numbers, 1, 2 & 3?  If you included them in your deliberation, as children often do, you would have easily picked the number 2 as the right answer -- because it's the only even number and the only number without a 1 or a 3 in it.  Children often see all the numbers.  But as we get older, we let our creativity get put in well-crafted boxes.

There was a Kindergarten study done years ago.  The class was asked: 'How many of you think you're creative?'  One hundred percent of the class raised their hands.  Four years later - the very same children, now entering 5th grade - were asked the same question - only 40% raised their hands.  By the time those children got to 12th grade, less than 10% raised their hands to say they thought they were creative people.

We lose our dream.

I think there are people who believe they've gone so far down a wrong road they couldn't possibly ever have a new dream.

They're wrong.

God's dream and His peace and hope and joy are all part of His master plan for you.  No matter how your dream seems to be coming along right now ... keep believing ... keep planning ... keep acting ... keep going.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


For the last two days I've been at the MaxPath Coach training thru Coach Approach Ministries.  

Coaching is a new wave of ministry.  It differs from consulting, counseling and mentoring in that coaching raises productivity more than four times over the other methods.  The person being coached decides what their course of action will be rather than being told by the counselor or mentor. The chances of them acting on their own realized course is far greater than simply being shown it by someone else.  The person being coached is guided toward a result and course of action through questions asked by the coach.

These two days were fascinating and I hope to put some of my new learned skills into practice soon.  Maybe on my wife.

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


There are precious few things in life that are quite literally priceless -- meaning they cannot be -- could never be -- bought with a quadrillion dollars.

One of those few is an amazing family who honors, laughs, cares, sacrifices and loves.

With the addition of our newest, Brandyn, our adult family is now complete.

On this Father's Day, I am blessed.

That's all -- and that's all I need.

And be blessed.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


It is the Eve of our last daughter's wedding and marriage.

It was a sweltering 96+ degrees when the first one married outdoors -- it rained for the second daughter's wedding in our yard.  Third time is charm - it's in our yard again tomorrow - but this time the forecast looks to be picture perfect.

My emotions are mixed.  It can't be more gratifying than seeing all three of your children married to people who love them and who love God.  It hardly gets better than that.  Still, to see that last and final one walk the aisle attached to someone other than you is, in a too-often quoted word, surreal.

There are two things parents try to give their children ... one is roots and the other is wings.

Roots give stability - foundation - they grab ahold of what's way down deep when the storm and winds of life blow hard - it can't be swayed when a new value system or idea pops up because the roots are gripping a solid base.

Wings let one choose his own direction - they lift you higher than you ever imagined possible.  For the past 23 years every time I've released this bird, it's ultimately come flying back to my open palms.  The wings I face tomorrow, however, express full independence and freedom.

We need to give our children both roots and wings.  

Tomorrow ... our last one flies.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I'm a few days late on this, but nonetheless grateful, amazed, humbled and hopeful.

This past Friday was Hope Run Kenosha, sponsored by Journey Church.  It was an event that raised awareness of human trafficking.  More than 1,000 people came out to walk or run for the cause.  THANK YOU!

While most of us know sex and labor trafficking is a problem around the world, many don't know it's a problem right here.  Estimates are that there are 2.4 million victims of sex and labor trafficking in the world today creating an industry worth 32 billion dollars.  Nearly every country in the world is affected by it, as either a point of origin, transit or destination.  Victims from more than 125 countries have been exploited.

Calls to the National Human Traffic Hotline have increased 250% from all 50 states.  Women are victims in 85% of sex trafficking cases; men in 40% of labor trafficking cases.  More than 100,000 young girls are caught in sex trafficking in the United States.  Boys are targets as well.

In 2011, three Milwaukee area men were sentenced to prison after beating a dozen children into selling sex to complete strangers.  This is human trafficking.

In 2012, authorities recovered six Milwaukee children from the hands of traffickers.

Recently, two men from Menominee Falls and Oak Creek, WI were charged after they forced a young girl at gunpoint to sell sex for money.  This is human trafficking.

A couple in Walworth County, Wisconsin was arrested for holding a 16-year old Waukesha, WI girl in a Janesville, WI home and prostituting her to men they had solicited on the internet.  This is human trafficking.

Fighting human trafficking shouldn't just be seen as the responsibility of the authorities.  Ordinary people can help tackle this crime by being aware and by making sure the plight of victims doesn't go unnoticed.  There are many ways you can help.

-- If you see something suspicious there is a National Hotline you can call.  Here's the number:


-- Check out various agencies who specialize in awareness and action.  Some of them in our area are:
* P.R.O.M.I.S.E. Chicago and Anne's House --- 
* EXPLOIT NO MORE Milwaukee ---
* 5-STONES Fox Cities ---

-- Get involved with local government and authorities.

-- Open your home to foster children and orphans.  Those without a caring, loving family are particular targets for traffickers.

-- Stay in touch with the HOPE RUN KENOSHA FACEBOOK page for updates at

-- Pray.

This past Friday was Journey Church's very first HOPE RUN KENOSHA.  Hope plays a huge part in the human experience.  It gives us something to cling to.  I've spent a fair amour of time hoping for things.  I've hoped to pass my driver's test - I've hoped to get good grades in college - I've hoped for a great marriage.  But did any of those things happen because I hoped for them?  Or did I have to do something in order for the hope to be realized?

That's how hope is kept alive.  By doing something.

Margaret Mead said: 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.'

Lastly, here are the words of a song by Matthew West.  Perhaps he says it best:
"I woke up this morning,
Saw a world full of trouble,
Thought, 'How'd we ever get so far down?  
How's it ever gonna turn around?'
I couldn't bear the thought of people living in poverty,
Children sold into slavery,
So I shook my fist at heaven and said: 
'God, why don't You do something?'
And God said: 'I did.  I created you.'

If not us, then who, if not me and you,
Right now it's time for us to do something,
If not now, then when?"

Do something.

And be blessed.

Monday, June 9, 2014


On the six days of creation, God worked.  On the seventh, He rested.


Was He tired?

No.  It means He was deeply satisfied.  His work was completed.  He had finished everything He set out to do.  And on the seventh day, He stopped.  Not for His benefit, but for ours.  The Sabbath day of rest was intended for your enjoyment - for your recovery - actually, for your re-creation.

God initiated work as a good thing; but He initiated rest as a God thing.

"Work hard - be satisfied - rest well - recover."

Jesus also achieved everything He set out to do accomplish.  As He hung on the cross and said, 'It is finished,' He wasn't just saying, 'I'm dying now,' He was saying, 'What I've set out to do ... My purpose here ... all that's necessary ... has been completed.'

The payout for us is that in Jesus we can have rest -- relational rest - physical rest - emotional rest - spiritual rest - eternal rest.  In Christ the work is finished for you. 



Your security - your fulfillment - your identity - is no longer defined by the role you're temporarily playing here on planet Earth, but by who you've been made in Christ.  In Jesus you can look at your work - look at your life - look at your accomplishments and say: "It's absolutely satisfying; it's good."

And be blessed.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


God uses some of the most unlikely people.

Young D.L. Moody, the great Bible communicator, was a poor uneducated man.  His grammar was so awful church members would squirm in their seats whenever he spoke.  Yet by God's grace he would become one of the greatest preachers of his era.

Billy Graham's first sermon lasted only 8 minutes (Don't say it).  Those listening to his early attempts concluded he showed 'little promise' for that vocation.

'God uses some of the most unlikely people.'

It seems God isn't nearly as interested in our beginnings as He is our obedience.  God never fails - not even one of His promises fall to the ground.

We're in a way better position than all those earliest heroes of the faith we so laud today.  None of them had the benefit of Romans 4:21 like we do:  " ... being fully persuaded that God has power to do what He has promised."

Trust and believe ... and walk toward Jesus.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


It's time for the 'end of the day replay.'

Run thru your day -- conversations - thoughts - events - meetings - situations ---- how'd you do?  How much like Jesus were you?

Go back to the critical moments.  Maybe it will be a moment where you actually were sensitive to God and His Spirit and you can celebrate that win and resolve to have more of them in future.

Maybe it will be a moment your heart got a little aggressive toward someone -- or stony perhaps -- edgy -- maybe you'll remember a circumstance where you turned a wrong direction.

It's time for the 'end of the day replay.'

The beauty of this kind of exercise is that it allows us to catch wrong decisions before they blossom into more full-blown direction, consequence or sin.  And it encourages us to repeat the good ones so they become instinctive life habits.

The more you practice 'end of the day replays,' the more they will start invading the actual moment of choice.  When the temptation comes - when the urge comes - when the thought comes - to walk or run in a wrong direction, you begin to train yourself to say: 'Hold on!  I refuse to let this become a moment I'll have to deal with later on tonight, so I'll choose another direction right now.'

"Search me God, and know my heart.  Test me and know my thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting."  (Ps. 139:23, 24)

That prayer of examination will change your sensitivity right there in the moment of decision, rather than later on.

God is all for running.  It's just the direction of the run that's so important.

"The Name of the Lord is a strong tower.  The righteous run to it and are safe." (Prov. 18:10)

So run.  Run with everything inside you.  Just run toward God, not away.

Then replay that over and over.

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


What an amazing weekend at Journey Church // Kenosha.

Thursday night's 6th grade graduation from our Christian Life's (  elementary school was a great time, watching 72 students ready themselves for upper school.  My thanks to elementary principal, Christie Gould for her great work.

Friday night's graduation of 67 high school seniors from Christian Life School was super-exciting, with hundreds in attendance.  The speeches given by Valedictorian Rebecca Johnson and Salutatorian Sam Merlock were some of the finest I've heard in many years.  The combined offers of scholarships and grants to this class totaled over $2 million.  I was privileged to give the graduation address to the class of '14 and spoke on servanthood, ultimately washing the feet of one of the graduates, Mathew George.  I'm proud of Susan Nelson and Troy Tennyson, (administrator and upper school principal) and the entire Christian Life School team for the way they lead our students.

Today was the first graduating class of our Journey Ministry College (  Six students graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies and one student received her Master's Degree in Biblical Studies.  This was the fulfillment of a dream and a vision God gave us years ago to bring education back to the church and personalize it for students in our local setting, ultimately sending out ministers of the Gospel to reach our world.

I can't express how proud I am of these seven:
Beatrice Desimoni (Masters)
Cortney Dlapa
Cassie Littel
Kyle Littel
Cait Mertens
Nick Svehla
Joshua Thompson

Deepest thanks to Pastor Gabe Mills (College Director) and Shari Gunhus (Admin) for their leadership of the college.

Onward and upward.

And be blessed.