Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Vaclav Havel in Wenceslas Square, 1989
 An element dear to the people of the Czech   Republic is something as simple as a key.

 It is 1989.

 The Nazis and Hitler are long gone - replaced by the Soviets and Communism.  But there is great unrest in the Eastern Bloc.  Demonstrations are happening - and here - in what is now the Czech Republic, hundreds of thousands of Czechs and Slovaks pour into the grand boulevard in Prague known as Wenceslas Square.

Leader Vaclav Havel, who would go on to become the president, stands on the balcony of the building pictured and dangles keys over the edge, symbolizing the unlocking of doors and as a way to tell the Communists:  'It's time to go home.'  The huge crowd answers back by raising their own keys and noisily waving them in the air.

Shortly thereafter, the Soviets capitulate and the Czechs go free with little to no bloodshed.  It was called the Velvet Revolution.

Wenceslas Square today - Prague, Czech Republic
It is moments such as these one wishes he could have witnessed firsthand.  History is made as the air rings with thousands and thousands of jingling keys -- all expressing a desire to be free.

Keys are 'key.'

Jesus told us He holds the keys of Death and Hades (Revelation 1:18).

The balcony from which Vaclav Havel jingled his keys
He told Peter that He would build His church and the gates of Hades would be unable to overpower it.  Then He said He would give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:18, 19).

You hold a key today, believer in Christ.  You have authority symbolized by the possession of that key -- modeling and preaching the Gospel opens the Kingdom of heaven to you and to those who haven't yet believed.

Jesus ratifies in heaven what is done in His name and in obedience to His Word on the earth.

You hold a key, Christ-follower.  It represents freedom.  It represents a revolution.  It represents a transition of power from the Ruler of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light.

Take out your key, friend - and jingle it loud.

And be blessed.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Standing at various locations in the German city of Berlin this week -- The Wall -- the Brandenburg Gate -- the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe -- gave new meaning to what Jesus wrote in the Sermon on the Mount on the Mount of Beatitudes.

Never mind that part of the Nazi forces motivation was to purge the world of Jews, 'Gypsies,' the sick and lame -- basically anyone not like them -- the eternal truth comes from One of those very people, sent in to the world to redeem it forever.  

Memorial to the Murdered Jews - 2700 slabs of concrete
in varying heights arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.

A Jew.

One who came not for those who were well, but for the sick, the hurting, the lame, the dead, the sinful.  "Those" people.

So as I stand at terrible yet memorable places and remember Jesus' words in Matthew 5, I see the exact opposite values from what the evil empires of the world value.  

That may not be a surprise to you -- yet it is worth noting today.  

That said, you needn't be a Hitler to have skewed values or hurt people or leave a trail of carnage in your personal wake.  So these words bring new and refreshed meaning to this life after recalling the atrocities of man upon man.

Maybe you'll read them a little differently now as well:

'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is in heaven ... '
(Matthew 5:3-11)

And be blessed.

Monday, May 18, 2015


Today ... Joelene and I embark on a 10-week Sabbatical.

A Sabbatical is a time granted to a leader to set aside normal responsibilities for the purposes of renewal and movement toward sustained and increased future ministry.

The word Sabbatical is drawn from 'Sabbath.'  The Hebrew for Sabbath means to 'close' or 'rest.'  It's connected with the last day of creation when God rested from His work (Genesis 2:3).

Letters from our Team
Jesus said, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.'  (Mark 2:27, 28).  The Biblical example of Jesus' own frequent withdrawal to quiet places to meditate, pray and be renewed is a model for us all.

This opportunity, afforded us by our board of deacons and Journey Church congregation is an honor and a privilege.  Our deep thanks to our loving church for their care for us as pastors and leaders.  We could not be more grateful and blessed.

On Sunday, our team of staff pastors presented us with this stack of sealed, personalized letters along with a schedule to open them - one per week during our time away.  Our hearts are full at such lavish expressions of love and support.

We will spend a portion of our Sabbatical traveling in Europe -- resting, touring, listening, and visiting with some of our Journey Church missionaries.

And be blessed.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Today was one of the most amazing days in the history of Journey Church.

Hundreds and hundreds of people traded a typical weekend service for picking up a rake, a paintbrush, bagging groceries, ministering at a nursing home, cleaning up a park or a beach -- serving the cities of Burlington and Kenosha.

I've always been proud of our Journey folks -- never more than today.


Thank you, Journey.

And be blessed.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


You may not know this but today - May 14th - is National Underground Day.  It's this day every year.

There are several thousand people in our country who live below ground.  Probably riding underground railroads and riding subways.

If you're interested, Malcolm Wells, who started the day back in 1974, gives some ways to celebrate.  I highly recommend them all:

Dig a hole - get in - and cover it up.
Think about moles.
Mail some dirt to someone (not to me).
Touch a basement wall.
Eat a radish.
Ride the subway with a friend.
Bury some treasure.
Look down a well.


Call it pre-Sabbatical disease.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Chad Williams
What's happening with the FORGE MEN'S CONFERENCE, scheduled for October 17th at Journey Church // Kenosha campus - is awesomely exciting.

Our guest speaker is Chad Williams, former Navy Seal.

The theme is "NO LIMITS."

Breakout sessions will be led by experienced leaders and cover fatherhood - marriage/family - a man's identity - a man's success/work - men of courage and purity - how to be a young man of God.

Sign up and get your ticket/packet

Activities in, around and outside the building will be designed to test the limits of a man physically and mentally.

This isn't a MEN'S CONFERENCE like you've ever been to before.

Tickets are only $35 right now, but that will go up after Father's Day this year.


Register online today at 

Saturday, May 9, 2015



And be blessed.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Here's how the Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down the average American day.  I realize your particular day may be 'more' or 'less,' but work with me here:

So, if we classify what you do to make money, your household activities and caring for other people as 'work' - which it all is in some form or another - you easily spend about half of your day working.

Does that surprise you?

Maybe.  Maybe not.

Sociologists say the average American spends one-third of his/her lifetime working.  That's a chunk.

We could preach a sermon on this right now, but it can't be disputed that what you do with your time ... matters.

You only have this one life to make it happen.  The time you spend counts.

This might say it better than I could ...

 And be blessed.