Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Let's understand righteousness.  It's a big word but it just means right standing with God.  

John chapter 16 says the Holy Spirit will convict the world regarding it.


Doesn't say the Holy Spirit will convict us of righteous living - but of right standing before God.  Right standing will always lead to right living, but still . . .


Maybe another way to say that word 'convict' would be 'convince.'  The Holy Spirit convinces you of your sin, doesn't He?  Yes.  He convinces you that you're completely condemned without Jesus.  But when you believe in Jesus, now you're in right standing with God - and you're convinced that you are.

I know many of you have, like me, been convicted of sin.  But have you ever been convicted of righteousness - right standing with God?  

Do you see the difference between that and just being convicted/convinced of sin?

That's big.

And be blessed.

Monday, October 27, 2014


I spent some time with a friend today who told me he had been making oodles of repairs to his home -- everything from fixing worn trim around the garage to putting on a new screen door to installing new light fixtures to touching up his walls with paint.

He's a master at fixing things.

I'm jealous.

Most of us think we can fix just about anything -- if not on our own, we 'have a guy' who can.  It's the way of American rugged individualism.  'I got this.'

'Just about the only thing we can't fix--
--is ourselves.'

I stand guilty before God and there isn't much I can do to clean myself up.

When you think about it, God could easily have taken a Giant Eraser and gotten rid of every single one of us for our disobedience toward Him -- accused, tried, convicted and sentenced.  But He didn't.  He graciously set in motion a plan which, at tremendous cost to Himself, made a way for us to be right with Him.

"At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  (Romans 5:6, 7)

It was the Great Substitute, whereby Jesus took our place on a cross to pay for sins we'd committed - both past and future.  It was one-sided.  We got it all; He got little in return.

He became sin, though He had not known sin personally.  He bore our sin in His body on the cross.

This should be a constant reminder that your best fix-it job is never good enough.  Jesus fixed it by paying it all for you.

And be blessed.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


The 'bosses' of Journey Church were blessed for Boss' Day by our admin team today.  What a blast.  They led us thru a personalized Amazing Race course, broken up into two very competitive teams.

They put us thru paces via:
Indoor Mini-Golf
Football Pass Thru the Hole
Centipede Dolly Race
Root Beer Suck-up
Trike Race
Dice Balance
Four-Way Grinder Challenge
Grocery Cart Race

Mark and I came SO CLOSE to winning this challenge, and then ...

It was a total blast and we got to see the best (and worst) of all our competitiveness.

On behalf of our whole team, THANK YOU to an incredible group of workers at Journey Church who show their love in the coolest ways.  It's a pleasure serving with you daily.

Oh yeah ... which team won?

It was a tie.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I have a love-hate relationship with cars.

The love part is -- my collection of twenty-plus 1:18 scale 1950's cars displayed in my office.  I just like to look at them.  And yeah, when nobody's around, take them down and sit on the floor and 'play,' just like I used to when I was 8, running my Matchbox cars around the oval braided rug in my great-grandmother's little living room.  I still have a suitcase with 50 of those Matchbox cars.

I've never been a Ford guy - or a Chevy guy - or a Chrysler guy - or a Honda guy --- something more interesting.  I love cars.  That's mine in the pic.

The hate part is -- well -- everything else.

I've had more repairs and breakdowns than you can shake a stick at.  Probably because I'm not a Ford or Chevy or Chrysler or Honda guy.

Several years back, when my BMW was rear-ended, I spent the next several months being towed by AAA seven times because it didn't get repaired right.

We've owned a Land Rover Discovery --- things were constantly going wrong and I spent more on repairs on that thing until I decided it was no longer even Christian to own it.

I am the victim of series of unfortunate events when it comes to cars.  I'm just sayin.'  For instance, over the past few months my love-hate relationship with cars has definitely leaned toward hate.  Here's what's gone down:

1)  This summer I was rear-ended at a stoplight by a woman with no insurance.

2)  Last month the receptacle that stands in the corner of my garage that holds an assortment of rakes, shovels, big lawn tools, hoes, etc ... fell on my car, producing large scrapes all down one side.

3)  Two weeks ago I came out to my car from a local store and found someone had backed into my front end and left without leaving a note.

4)  Then yesterday, I'm sitting at a stop light, second car back from the intersection.  The young lady in front of me got stopped by the yellow and because she had wandered out a little too far into the intersection, decided to back up to get behind the traffic line - smart girl.  I sat there watching her back up my direction.  At some point while we are all waiting for the green, I noticed she'd forgotten to put her car back in 'Drive.'  Yeah, she was still in 'reverse.'  I thought to myself, 'No.  Huh-uh.  Not going to happen.'  And yet, as we continued to wait, her back up lights continued to smirk at me.  Yep.  This is going down in about 20 seconds.  I scrolled thru my options.  Honk?  Would that do anything?  Put my car in 'park,' get out and run up to her window to let her know?  What to do?  Wave like a maniac and hope she saw?  I kept thinking, 'Any second now she's going to realize she's still in reverse.'  But no.  The light turned green and I thought, 'Here it is.' Being rear-ended wasn't enough, God?  Rakes and shovels - not enough?  Front end cracked up.  There's more?  And sure enough, she put her foot on the gas and ... drove in reverse.

Now -- before you cry "NO WAY!!!" -- she did get her foot back on the brake before ramming my front end, so on this one occasion, I averted another disaster.

But this is really too much.  My nerves (and wallet) can't take much more.  Your car looks pretty good right now, doesn't it?

'Don't let the muggles get you down.'

And be blessed.

Monday, October 20, 2014


I was privileged to sit in on a Journey Church team - Hands of the Lamb - meeting this past Saturday.

I already knew how amazing this group was -- but sitting there listening to them plan -- hearing their big hearts for hurting people -- listening to them talk thru issues and come to God-glorifying and people-honoring decisions ---- was inspiring to me.

Love these guys.

All the things they put their hands to during a calendar year is daunting - yet they do it 'for the joy.'

First Steps Ministry -- helping feed the homeless
Bag-by-Bag -- food pantry
Feeding America -- last Saturday of every month giving food to families in need
Caring Families -- personalized ministry to families
Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets
Christmas Shoeboxes -- Samaritan International for children around the world

Thanks to Rhonda Meh and Tammie Clarke for leading this group of gold-medal servants.

Journey Church is blessed.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


A huge shout-out to my hometown boys, the Kansas City Royals --- on their way to the World Series for the first time in 30 years.  Didn't lose one post season game.  Way to go!

Representing ...

And be blessed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


NOTE:  The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of  pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or comments related to Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor.  Those pastors who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

The subpoenas are the latest twist in an ongoing saga over Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance.  The law, approved by the city council in June, would among other things, allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa.

After opponents of the bathroom bill filed a lawsuit, the city’s attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors.

The pastors themselves were not part of the lawsuit.  However, they were part of a coalition of some 400 Houston-area churches that opposed the ordinance.  They represent faith groups from Southern Baptist to non-denominational.

An ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom) attorney suspects the mayor wants to publicly shame the pastors.   Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, lead pastor of Grace Community Church.  He was ordered to produce all speeches and sermons related to Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality and gender identity.  The mega-church pastor was also ordered to hand over “all communications with members of your congregation” regarding the non-discrimination law.

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, called the actions by Houston’s mayor “obscene” and said they “should not be tolerated.”


It has been repeatedly predicted that the government would one day try to silence American pastors -- that under the guise of “tolerance and diversity” elected officials would attempt to deconstruct religious liberty.  That day seems to have arrived sooner than we expected.

Should we remain silent on this?  One day the government might come for your pastor - and then for you.

And be blessed.

Monday, October 13, 2014


God says: 'You -- over there -- with all your sin -- I accept you just the way you are, but I'm not going to leave you that way.  I'm in the process of working it out in your life.  I'm going to change you.  But I'll never condemn you.  I've already placed all that on the back of My Son, Jesus.  Now I want you to behave in the very same way toward others.  Shower acceptance, love and grace on folks I bring into your life.  Then I want you to turn around and bring a small number of people into your life so they can share and carry some of your burdens with you and for you.'

That's ... so ... powerful.

You're too busy for it?  You'll die without it.  And you were made for it.

And be blessed.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Who's praying specifically about the gap in your life between the person you really are and the person you'd like to be?

James 5 says to 'Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so you might be healed.'

Confess my sins to someone else?  I don't think so.  I'll confess mine to God.  James says to confess them to each other.

You mean tell the cashier at the grocery store I go to?  No.
You mean tell somebody I'm going to see week after week?  I just don't do that.  OK, but James says you'll spend the rest of your life doing image management then.

'Don't just tell God; tell somebody.'

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.  It doesn't say gossip about each other.  It says pray for each other.

Why?  So you might be healed.  And isn't that what we're all really after?

James says, 'You want to be healed?'  Then don't just tell God; tell somebody.

But what will they think of me?  They'll think you're like them.  They'll think you're real.  They'll think you're honest.

But do you know what else?  God might honor their prayer ... and you ... might ... be ... healed.  You might change.  You might find some lifelong friends.

Who's praying about the gap in your life between who you really are and who you know God wants you to be?  Nobody knows but you?  That's a problem.

Do life.

And be blessed.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


We all want to be known for something.  You know that's true.

Maybe you don't want to be known by the world, but you want to be known by somebody - and you want to be known for something.  If anything, you want to be known as the guy who doesn't care if he's known for anything.

See how that works?

Your looks - your lifestyle - your accomplishments - your great kids - your education - your business acumen - your skill or ability - your wisdom or common sense - the car you drive - the house you live in ---- you want to be known for something.

The problem - and we can all relate to this - is when there's a gap between what you want to be known for and what you really are.

We all want to be known for something -- but what we need is to be known by someone.  In fact, what we really need even more is to be known by a community of someones who can know all about us and still accept us as we are and yet love us too much to see us stay that way.

That's exactly what the local church is supposed to provide.  The local church at its core is supposed to be a community of people who know there's a gap and who will say: 'We know you have a gap between what you want to be and what you really are and we don't care.  We'll love you anyway and we'll come alongside you and help you uncover that gap and love you into growth in the Kingdom.'

'If there was ever a place where a person should be able to say, "It isn't all as it appears, it's right here."

And honestly, as Christ followers, we should amazing at this.  We're forgiven; so we should be the most incredible forgivers.  We've been accepted by God in spite of ourselves;  we should be the best accepters of others.

We should be part of a community who says:  "We don't care what kind of baggage you brought in here - we love you.'  

You aren't going to find any condemnation (at Journey Church) and here's why -- because we're all people who know we should be condemned, but we've learned God isn't going to do that to us.  He said, "I'll send my Son for you so you won't ever be condemned" --- and because of that there's no condemnation here in the local church for you either.


If there was ever a place where a couple should be able to open to other couples and say: "It isn't all as it appears, it's right here."

If there was ever a place where a single person should be able to say:  "Here's what I am on the outside - but here's who I actually am," it's right here.

And not only should we be the kind of place where people can open up and say: 'Here's who I am,' we should be the place where we add, 'And we'll totally accept you from moment one - we'll love you and walk with you so you can become everything God has called you to be.'

Right here.

That's the core of what the local church is supposed to be.

Do life together.

And be blessed.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


I've been out for a few days because our team of pastors was at a Silent Prayer Retreat up north.  Two full days of spending time with God without saying a word to each other or anybody else.

I wasn't sure we could do it, but we did.

When we encounter the awesome power of God - in creation, for instance - all we can do is be silent. It's the only appropriate reaction.  Anything you say out loud ruins it.

We do that at other times in our lives that are special and yet far less momentous in the big picture than what God has done.

'What have we missed by being so busy - so noisy - so full?'

I remember the ending of Schindler's List at the movie theater.  People sat there in stone cold silence after the movie had finished.  Nobody moved for the longest time.  Silence.

I've walked thru the grounds of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.  So quiet, even with hundreds of people milling about.  Same with the Sistine Chapel in The Vatican.  

When we've been the recipient of a super-compassionate act of mercy, we are silenced.  When they lay that first baby on your chest, fresh out of the womb, there isn't anything to say but look on in awe.

Sometimes silence is the only right response.

Revelation 8:1 says that 'Heaven fell silent for about half an hour.'  When was the last time any of us remained completely silent even that long -- unless we were napping?

What have we missed by being so busy - so noisy - so full?  Could we have missed experiencing the amazing presence of God in our lives?  Could we have missed His voice trying to speak to us?

"I wait quietly before God ... He alone is my rock and salvation ... "  (Psalm 62:1, 2)

"God's promise of entering His rest still stands ... "  (Hebrews 4:1)

"Be still and know that I am God."  (Psalm 46:10)

And be blessed.

Friday, October 3, 2014


'It doesn't take too long to hang out with someone to figure out whether they've read the Bible or the Bible has read them.' --- M. Chandler

This is a statement about accommodating the Scripture - not so much in the lives of those around us, but in our own lives.  Let's look in a mirror before we look thru a microscope.

I'm all for pouring the Gospel into containers people will drink from today, to make it understood by a culture that doesn't know God --- not be stiff-minded by insisting future generations receive the Gospel the same we did in our youth.  But I'm not for trying to make the Gospel 'sugary' - more
palatable.  The Gospel doesn't need to be saccharine-ized.  It is what it is.

But this truth needs to be applied to me before I dare challenge another.

Have you read the Bible or has the Bible read you?

And be blessed.