Sunday, August 23, 2015


We need God-vision.

We need it in any and every sphere of influence God has given us.

Vision doesn't simply mean making a list of things you 'hope' happens someday - things you want to do.  Those are called goals.

Vision comes from God - spending time with Him - listening - reading His Word - worshipping Him - getting His heart inside you.  Everything else is a to-do list.

How do you know the difference between what comes from God and what comes from your own pen?

How do you know the difference between what comes from God and what comes from you?

- God-vision comes from being with God -- a to-do list comes from being with you.

- God-vision requires faith -- a to-do list requires human planning and administration.

- God-vision imagines the future -- a to-do list predicts the future.

- God-vision stretches your faith -- a to-do list stretches your resolve.

'God, help us plan with great faith.  At the same time, Lord, increase our faith to see great things done for You and Your Kingdom.  We don't want to just enjoy the past.  We want to see You use our church like never before.'

And be blessed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


With the recent departure of our friends, the Fergusons, from our pastoral team, I have been spending time thumbing through resumes, sifting through worship sample links, listening to prospective candidates and placing phone calls toward finding a Pastor of Passionate Worship for Journey Church.

All this thumbing, sifting, listening and placing gives me opportunity to reflect on what worship really is.

I've often thought about what must happen in the church seats when I tell people that for all eternity they'll spend their time worshiping God.  Mad Max who's sitting out there must roll his eyes in agony at the very thought of singing for a jillion years when he could be playing in a foursome on a cloud somewhere nearby.

We were created for worship.  But that doesn't mean the worship-service-where-the-singing-never-ends.  

I love music.  It's what I did every day for twenty-five-plus years.  But if worship is what we were created for, it has to be expanded beyond the 15-25 minutes of singing that happens on Sunday morning.  We worship thru singing, yes, but we also worship in other ways:

We worship by being obedient to the Creator.

We worship when we're grateful and thankful.

We worship when we work in such a way that God is lifted up.

We worship when we are creative for the Kingdom.

We worship when we rest and when we play and honor the God-given rhythm of life.

We worship when we pray.

We worship when we give sacrificially.

We worship when we build Godly, strong relationships with other believers.

We worship when we connect with unbelievers.

We worship when we serve others.

We worship when we live a life of purpose for God.

When we worship, God is in it.

And be blessed.

Monday, August 10, 2015


There's a guy at my church who always greets me the same way every time he sees me:  "Hello, Preacher,"  he says with a smile.

I have to admit I kind of like that greeting.  I wouldn't want everybody greeting me that way but it seems to work for him - and it brings a smile to this preacher's face, so it's a win-win.

So when I ran across this from Joe McKeever, I had to share bits and pieces of it.  It's 'Things not to say to a Preacher ... '

-- 'I enjoyed your little talk.'

-- 'It was nice visiting your church.  You should hear the preacher at my home church.  He's been to seminary.'

-- 'Someone - I'm not saying who - told me to tell you ... '

-- 'Can I stop by your office Monday morning?  I only need a couple hours of your time.'

-- 'The game starts at 11:30 today, so ... '

-- 'Today's sermon was a big improvement over your last few.'

-- 'Hello, Pastor.  Do you remember my name?'

-- 'Can you give me two minutes in the service this morning to make a special announcement?'

-- 'Don't take this personally, Pastor ... '

-- 'So, what does your wife do at the church -- anything?'

-- 'Here's a CD of the preacher we heard while on vacation.'

-- 'Your hands are so soft.  Have you ever done any real work?'

-- 'I'm not being fed.'

-- 'I called you at home tonight, Pastor, because I didn't want to bother you at the office.'

I want to thank the people of Journey Church // Kenosha & // Burlington for never saying any of these things.


And be blessed.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Essentially the decision you and I are considering every day of our lives is:  Are we going to follow Jesus?

Not are we going to bow our heads and say a prayer, head home and read our Bibles and go to church next weekend bringing our tithes and offerings.

But ... are we going to follow Christ?  And not just are we going to follow Christ, but are we going to follow Christ with a cross?  Are we going to deny ourselves?  Are we going to follow Him sacrificially with everything we are, no matter where He tells us to go, no matter what the cost might be?

That's the question.

'Gone are the days when it's acceptable to follow Jesus only on the weekend.'

Because gone are the days when it's acceptable to follow Jesus only on the weekend.  With culture and societal mores heading anti-Jesus directions -- with government laws and high court decisions being handed down that are offensive to the Gospel of Christ, gone are the days of serving Jesus on again-off again.

Here are the days when holding fast to the Gospel - actually believing the Bible and putting it into practice - will mean risking your reputation, disagreeing with your closest family and friends, jeopardizing your earthly security ... and really following.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


We are at the biennial General Council of the Assemblies of God in Orlando, Florida -- doing the business of the denomination.  Thousands of pastors gather to hold services, worship, vote and network.

I love who we are -- Spirit-filled -- passionate -- intentional -- organized -- worldwide ---- it's so great to be part of this fellowship of believers and churches.
Christine Caine

Today's highlights:

-- Christine Caine.  
From the Australian A/G, she compelled us to stretch out of our comfort zones, take risks for God and not be afraid to embrace pain.  'The days of spectator Christianity are over.'  She said this is the first time in church history in which three generations -- the wisdom of the elderly, the resources of her generation and the zeal of youth are willing to work together to influence society.  

-- Ellen Blackwell, recipient of the Lifetime Influencer Award.
At 101 years old (she's older than the Assemblies of God by 6 months) -- she pastors Mount Zion Assembly of God in Charles Town, West Virginia.  She spent her 100th birthday in Israel, where she founded the Fellowship House Retreat Center, a complex overlooking the Sea of Galilee that can host 40 people for prayer retreats.  "Isn't it grand that the Lord didn't make a compulsory retirement at age 65?" she asked.

-- SOAR project.
A/G worship leaders across America have compiled a new album of 11 original songs called "SOAR."  Several of the songs were premiered today during worship.  (Journey Church's own homeboy, Vinnie Zarletti, has a song on the album.)  SOAR can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon. Great stuff.

And be blessed.