Tuesday, April 28, 2015


'I'm offended.'  

How many times have I heard that down thru the years?  Lots.  When I've found out why they were offended or by whom, I've been shocked.

Frankly, I've been offended that they were offended.

Let's turn that around to be fair.  How many times have I said I was offended by someone or something?  Too many.

I wonder if any of us have ever been offended by what Christ did on the cross for us all.

Of all the places Jesus showed His scandalous love toward us, it was there.  It wasn't a partial or exclusive love -- it was universal -- freely offered -- to anyone -- everyone.

It was outright offensive.

The cross said you and I are sinners.  How dare it?  You're bad.  Worthless.  A wreck.  So radically and fatally hopeless - in such blatant and evil rebellion - that your only possible end game is death.

What?  You aren't offended by that - but you were offended by what she said about you last weekend?

Take it further.

In order for you to be rescued, Someone went thru such an assault as to be derided, brutally beaten beyond recognition, spit on, stripped naked, nails driven into His hands and feet, a spear into His side, thorns on His head pressed down hard, raised up in the air for everybody to see.

And that doesn't offend you?

Keep looking then.  Keep looking until you are deeply offended.

That bloody business is what it took to get you off death row - to set you free.

Be life-alteringly offended by that.  And the next time you feel yourself about to be offended by some ridiculous little thing that happened to you ... remember.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I LOVE2 . . .

More reasons why I love my church . . .

 And be blessed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I LOVE . . .

I love my church.

-- I love the way our folks press in to God when we gather together to worship passionately on the weekends.  The Holy Spirit is present and moves freely up and down the aisles.  

-- I love the diversity in our church, represented by economic, generational, societal, locational, theological and ethnic differences.

-- I love our mission to 'make it easy to find and experience God.'  Our congregation is bought in.

-- I love our heart to reach people walking toward eternity separated from God and our drive to be compassionate toward our cities and outward-focused toward our culture.

-- I love our passion to be relevant to a generation walking away from God and religion.

-- I love that we can laugh together and have fun, both in services and in smaller gatherings.

-- I love that we have a called and competent team that operates in unity and brotherhood.

-- I love that we are pit bulls about not being led by tradition, polls or popular opinion, but by the voice of the Holy Spirit.

-- I love that we love the next generation and have student and children's ministries and Journey schools that prove it.

-- I love that we are doing life together in authentic community.

-- I love our generosity.  It continually and constantly amazes me at the selfless sacrificial spirit present in the house.

-- I love that we are not content with the 'status quo.'

-- I love that we welcome and serve people without regard to their lifestyles, belief systems or orientations.

-- I love that we aren't perfect.  We're just walking humbly toward Jesus together.

I love my church.

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


The late 1960s brought us the Sexual Revolution.  Woodstock (pictured).  I was a mere babe at the time.  It promised freedom.  That was the whole idea -- freedom to talk however you wanted -- freedom to act however you wanted -- freedom to find maximum fulfillment on your own terms.

The thought was:  Why should sex be constrained to marriage?  If we really want personal fulfillment, we have to set all of life free, including sexuality.  But 50 years later, have we found satisfaction in that?

Decisively ... no.

Because the problem was never with our actions -- the problem was never with our speech -- the problem was never even with our bodies ---- the problem was always with our hearts.

'It always goes to the heart level with God.'

We aren't just trying really really hard not to do something wrong on our outsides; we're trying to become the kind of people who are naturally obedient to God on our insides.

God's desire isn't simply that you stop looking at women and wanting to do things with them, but that your inner person changes so you now want to obey God.  His desire isn't just so that you wouldn't want to kill someone, but that now you actually want to love the one who has hurt you.

We get so wrapped up with and over-focused on the externals.  But it always goes to the heart level with God.

And be blessed.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


We have a lust problem.

'Nobody is righteous in this area.  You aren't.  I'm not.'

There are 4 million porn sites today.
Twenty-five million Americans spend 1-10 hours a week looking at them.
In 2010 there were 11,000 adult films released. 
The age of first exposure to porn is 11.
Eighty percent of 15-17 year olds have had multiple exposures.
One out of four Americans will contract an STD during their lifetime.
The child porn industry is $3 billion a year.
Sex trafficking is now the second largest industry in the world.
Christian men who have viewed porn this week -- 51%.

We have a lust problem.

But let's not get too high and mighty at reading that.  Let's level the playing field a bit.

If you've ever had even one sexually inappropriate thought that you wouldn't want shown on the movie theater screen in your hometown, raise your hand.

(I'm guessing there are hands going up right now all over the world reading this.)

Nobody is righteous in this area.  You aren't.  I'm not.

We're in this together.

That's the very first step in this lust problem.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


If you have more than one child in your family you can tell a story of conflict in your home between siblings.  Somebody hurt somebody - somebody said something to somebody - somebody touched somebody - somebody smashed somebody's LEGO thing ---- and when you sit down to iron all that out, whose job is it to measure out justice?

The parents', right?

Please say YES to that.

It's the parents' job - not the children's job.

It's the childrens' job to grow up, mature, trust, obey and follow.

That's you.  That's me.  We've been adopted by the Creator of the universe.  You don't have to take everything into your own hands to fix.  You don't have to fight for your reputation.  You don't have to make the world right.  You don't have to get even.

The Father takes care of all that.  That's His job.

Let go of anger - let go of fear - let go of comparison - let go of your good name.  Abandon yourself to your Father because He is in control.

'Your mission, should you choose to accept it, follower of Christ - is to display the Gospel.'

So -- God wants me to cherish my enemy?  Yes, He does.

Do you want to know why?  Because God is all about distinguishing His followers in a dark world.  Your life will never distinguish itself more than when you're praying for and loving your enemy.  You'll never be more like Jesus.

This is where Christianity begins the walk.  Every time you cherish your enemy you're letting your Father do what your Father does best.  As the child, you're growing up - you're maturing - you're following - you're trusting and obeying - and you're putting the God-shaped Gospel on display.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, follower of Christ -- is to display the Gospel.

Display the Gospel.
Display the Gospel.
Display the Gospel.

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Ever had somebody try to get something out of your eye?

I have.  Super awkward.

'First take the log out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.'  (Matthew 7:5)

This is far deeper than most of us have realized.  Jesus isn't just saying to watch yourself and not be so quick to criticize.  It's way bigger.  He says remove the log from your own eye first ---- so you can see clearly to help your brother.

That's so huge.

So if someone was trying to get something out of your eye, what would you want them to be - besides a doctor?

You'd want them to be gentle -- and you'd want them to be careful.

See what Jesus is doing there?  You have to sometimes judge within relationships - you have to - but you have to be careful.  And you have to be gentle.

'You have to be careful.  And you have to be gentle.'

Do you know what else I want people to be when they're trying to get something out of my eye?  I want them to be thorough.  Get it all the first time.  Don't keep digging around in there.  Be careful -- and be gentle -- but get it all.

And what happens when you aren't careful?  You only care about the problem and you forget about the comfort of the person.

What happens when you aren't thorough?  You have to have the conversation again next week.

The motivation is healing and restoration -- but we begin by searching our own hearts first.  Then we can lovingly and carefully and humbly and gently turn around and help someone else.

This is the way of the Kingdom of Christ.

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Today is Easter.  

Easter is no 'clean up your act' day.  It isn't an April 'moral renovation' weekend.  It isn't a time to adopt a practical 'to-do list' of better behaviors for the rest of the year.

It's a day to announce, 'It is finished.'

We are completely absolved solely on the basis of the righteous act of Another.  

Our job is not to ask, "What would Jesus do?" but rather, 'What has Jesus done?'

We will never gain the best life by trying to be more aggressively better people - more worthy and deserving - more faithful.  We can not live our way to life.  We can only die our way there.

'We cannot live our way to life.'

Our best news is that Jesus rose from the grave and thereafter comes to raise other dead people.  You. Me.  Dead in our sins.

He doesn't give awards to the one who figures out a way to correct himself -- He comes to be the resurrection and the life to those who admit their need for a Savior and realize their inability to rescue themselves.

This is the beauty and story of Easter.

And be blessed.

Friday, April 3, 2015


What's so good about Good Friday?

It is, after all, the day we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus.  So why don't we call it 'Bad Friday' or 'Sad Friday' or at the very least 'Not-so-Great Friday?'  The Germans call it 'Sorrowful Friday.'  Just sounds closer to the truth than 'good.'

So what's so wonderful about "Good Friday?"

Only everything.

The bad part was our human condition as sinful people under condemnation.  The good news of deliverance only makes sense once we see how enslaved we were.

'Righteousness kissed peace that day.'

As terrible as that day was, it had to take place for us to receive the joy of the resurrection - the joy of Easter.  Out of death comes life.

The cross is the intersection of suffering and forgiveness.  Righteousness kissed peace that day.  For the joy set before Him Jesus endured it - on Good Friday - knowing it was the bridge to His resurrection - the path to our salvation - and the beginning of the end for the enemy of our souls.


Oh yes.

(I invite you to Easter services this weekend at Journey Church // Kenosha & // Burlington campuses.  Six opportunities.  Saturday night at 6p, Sunday at 9a and 10:45a at each campus.  Tell and bring somebody.)

And be blessed.