Saturday, October 31, 2015


I've been silent here on the SCOTUS 5-4 decision regarding the gay marriage thing.  I think I just wanted it all to die down a little rather than risking an ungodly gut reaction, particularly in print.

Weeks later ... here goes.

The first thing that must be said is that God's plan - beautiful and divine - is that a marriage covenant be between one man and one woman.  Supporting anything else is an assault to the Gospel of Christ.

Can we not still accept gay folks without hounding them about their choice?  Is it possibly to actually and truly love individuals without approving their lifestyle?  A bigger question may be:  Are they able to love us back knowing that we believe differently?  Why does the world equate hate with disagreement, even when it's done with great care and kindness?

Whatever we do, our spiritual compass cannot swing to line up with what culture believes, condones and supports.  It must remain with Christ as True North.

'Our spiritual compass must remain with Christ as True North.'

When we move True North, we rob the unbeliever of the very thing that will bring him to new life.  And if we condone the things God said we should avoid and flee, we have made the cross of Christ completely unnecessary.

Why are we afraid to stand for truth?  Even as I write this, I wonder what the downside repercussion of it might be.  I don't want to hurt my church - I don't want to offend gay people who might love attending there - I don't want to upset conservative believers - and yet above all, I don't want to offend God.

I think the toughest thing in this whole conversation is the issue of sin.  Sometimes it's hard to come right out and call a thing sin - even when it's what it is - because once you call something sin, you deal with it differently than you would deal with, say, a behavior.  I don't go around celebrating my sin.  I don't wave banners about my sin.  I don't print up decals about my sin.  I don't put up Facebook posts about the positive effects of my sin.  I repent of my sin and celebrate the redemption, forgiveness and freedom I have in Jesus because of His goodness on the cross.

Does anybody see the difference?

And be blessed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


There have been a lot of great things said about quitting ...

'The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.'  -- Bill Clinton

'Don't quit.  Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'  -- Muhammed Ali

'Winners never quit and quitters never win.'  -- Vince Lombardi

'The best way to guarantee a loss is to quit.'  -- Morgan Freeman

'I told my doctor I broke my leg in two places.  He told to me to quit going to those places.'  -- Henny Youngman

Don't quit.  Never give up.  Keep going.  You'll make it.

Got it.

Still, there are some things about which I'd like to say:  'Be a quitter.'

'Be a quitter.'

May I speak for quitters everywhere on this?

Quit standing on the sidelines and letting somebody else do it.  It's time to stop watching the other guy live the life, reap the reward, experience the excitement.  It's your time.  Quit standing around watching.  Get in the game.

Quit waiting for the risk to recede to a manageable level.  Low risk yields low fruit.  Step out on the plank.  Put your faith in the invisible.  Lean into that.  Let the risk level rise and when it gets to where it scares you to death, step out.

Quit speaking and thinking doom-and-gloom.  All that does is make your life mercilessly forlorn and complicated.  You have more going for you than you can imagine.  Time to say about yourself what God says about you rather than what you or others say about you.  Who's right more of the time - you or God?  Case closed.

Quit worrying.  'Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  The birds of the air neither sow nor reap ... and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not far more valuable than they?  See how the flowers of the field grow?  They do not labor nor spin.  Yet Solomon in all his splendor was not dressed like one of these.  So do not worry ... for your Father knows you need all these things.  Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.'  (Matthew 6:25-34)

Be a quitter.  I dare ya.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Lithuania's location in Europe
Lithuania is one of the three Baltic States of Europe, situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea.  It is east of Sweden, bordered by Latvia to the north, Poland to the South, Belarus to the east and south.

Lithuania has a population around 3 million.  Its capital city, Vilnius, is on the southeastern edge of the nation with a little more than half a million residents.

This past weekend our guests at Journey Church were Norm Edwards, Assemblies of God Area Director for Eurasia Northwest, of which Lithuania is part -- and David & Kandra Millsaps, Coordinator of Efforts in the Baltics.

Beginning in 1940, Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union and then by Germany.  After World War II's end in 1945, the Soviet Union re-occupied Lithuania.  On March 11, 1990, a year before the formal break-up of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare itself independent, resulting in the restoration of the independent state of Lithuania.

Flag of Lithuania
This speaks greatly to the spirit and resilience of the Lithuanian people.

Today, Lithuania is part of the European Union, the Euro Zone and NATO.  It has been among the fastest growing economies in the European Union and is ranked 24th in the world in the 'Ease of Doing Business Index.'

Today, Lithuania is a democracy with an elected President and an appointed Prime Minister and Cabinet.  

Perhaps most importantly, less than 1% of Lithuanians claim a faith and knowledge of Jesus.  Having been oppressed by two generations of Soviet oppression and fear, there is a mistrust of people and organizations.  Its citizens are realizing the empty promises made over the past several decades must be filled by something - Someone - more faithful and reliable.

Map of Lithuania
We were approached by the Assemblies of God a year ago to pray about starting a Journey Church in the country of Lithuania -- in the capital city of Vilnius.  After a personal visit there in March, we believe it is God's plan for Journey to walk forward into this future.

Norm Edwards and David & Kandra Millsaps helped pump the vision and need of Lithuania into our congregation this past weekend.  Thank you.  [That podcast can be viewed at - 'latest message.'   After November 1st, it can be found under 'archived messages.']

Please prya for the people of Lithuania and for the vision of Journey Church to take the movement of Jesus east -- to Lithuania.  Pray for a leader to be found who will partner with us in this effort to reach the people of Lithuania.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


'A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him.'   -- Ezra Pound

A lot of people see themselves as slaves even though they aren't.  The problem is that nobody can behave consistently in a way that is inconsistent with what he believes about himself.

That's why it hardly matters that I tell you that you aren't a slave if you believe you are one.

We are children of God.  We aren't trying to become children of God, we are -- now -- children of God who are becoming more like Jesus.

'You are not a slave.'

'See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.'  (I John 3:1 ESV)

You are not a slave.

You are free.

You are a child of God.

And be blessed.

Monday, October 19, 2015


You may never have thought about how completely crucial the church is to your life with Christ.  The Bible says, 'We are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.'

That means connection with Christ means connection with each other.

But go deeper with that than you normally do.

What would it mean if one limb of the body said to the other limbs:  'I don't need you; I don't really even particularly like you, so I choose not to be attached to you.  I want no relationship with you.'

That limb would be saying, 'I choose not to be in the body.'  Literally:  'I choose not to be in Christ.'

And if we reject that truth, we then reject Christ.

And be blessed.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


God mainly works through other people to bring healing and restoration.  We think all that comes directly and exclusively from God Himself, but it doesn't.  God uses people in our lives.

A lot.

We're called to travel the journey together.

And a church that fails to practice the kind of behavior where folks are positively involved in the lives of others -- a church that becomes a place full of independent, isolated individuals -- becomes a place where I don't tell you about my life and you don't tell me about yours -- you don't meddle in my affairs and I don't meddle in yours -- you don't tell me what's happening and I don't tell you -- you work out your own problems and I work out mine.

But the apostle Paul says to specifically accept the burden and trouble and inconvenience of helping hurting people be repaired and healed.

When I have a burden, I need to call for help -- but the rest of the time I need to spend looking for folks who need help and serving them.

It isn't an option to sit on the sidelines and say, "I don't feel called to get involved with the people of Journey Church" (or whatever church you belong to).

That isn't an option.

We're called to travel the journey together.  You and me.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


You should strongly consider naming your next child Shamgar.  This works, frankly, for a girl or a boy.  You can't always really tell these days which is which by the name, so I'm just sayin.'

Having said that, in the Bible, Shamgar was a man.

He was one of the Old Testament judges.  The weird thing about this guy is he only gets one verse in the whole Bible -- Judges 3:31.

He's like Jabez or Benaiah, characters who get sparse treatment in the Bible, and yet entire books are written about them.  (Hmmmm...there's an idea.)

I'd tell you his story here but since it's so short I'll let you look it up. Suffice to say if you took a weekend in most churches and polled the crowd on who Shamgar was, almost nobody would know.  He'd be a nobody to them.

That's what some of you think about you.  You think you're unimportant - a nobody - but you're Imago Dei -- made in the image of God.

Shamgar was likely from humble beginnings -- probably a farmer's boy -- proficient in handling tools and oxgoads and the like.  But what's most critical to know about him isn't any of that.

What made him great was that he didn't want till he became great in order to do something great.  He modeled two of the greatest principles of being made in the image of God:

Start where you are.
Use what you have.

'Start where you are.  Use what you have.'

Shamgar did.

You can, too.

Maybe you won't name your next child Shamgar.  Maybe you won't change your name.  But we could all unofficially make Shamgar our new middle names ... Kevin Shamgar Taylor.

It works.

Start where you are.
Use what you have.

God can do great things with what you hold in your hand right now.

And be blessed.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


One of the clearest ways to show you understand the concept of depositing into the lives of others is this:  Attack the problem, not the person.

Attacking problems is depositing into people.  Attacking people is withdrawing.

In the early days of the American West, horses and donkeys often strayed from wagon trains and roamed wild on the prairie.  When they did, their enemies became wolves which would attack in packs.

Horses and donkeys, it turns out, responded differently.


As wolves came near, the horses would circle up with their heads facing outward.  They'd kick their hind legs, but just ended up kicking each other.

The donkeys circled too, but they faced inward and would kick the wolves instead of each other.

Marriages - relationships - families are bound to experience conflict.  Wolves will attack.  The question is, when they do - when problems come - will the marriage, will the relationship, will the family behave like horses and kick each other or behave like donkeys and kick the enemy together?

I know you'd rather be a horse than a donkey, but not in this case.  Be a donkey.  Be a whole family of donkeys.

And be blessed.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Even when it's hard ... 
I officiated at a wedding today.  Beautiful moments.  One of the best things about it all was that the couple is so committed to Christ that it just overflows from every pore of their lives.

The reason I mention that is because not every wedding seems to have that particular glow.  I will confess to some personal sadness and deep grief over marriages that are short-lived and from the start there were hints that it might be.  You try to give your counsel and even some gut-level honesty about what seems transparent to everyone but the happy couple, but those moments, I admit, leave me feeling empty and sometimes even devastated later on.

You are not in your family for the short run.  You're there for the long haul -- with all the imperfections, bumps and warts.

You and your family might be tested -- your finances may be -- your future may be -- your parenting may be -- your children may test you.

But you have a faith in Christ.  That's what you and I live by -- even when it's hard -- especially when it's hard.

'There will come a time in your life when you will be sustained by whatever it is you believe."

Because there will come a moment in your life when you will be sustained by whatever it is you believe, and if you're circumstances dictate what you believe rather than your faith dictating that, if you believe you can't make it, you won't make it.

But if your faith in God says you can make it, you can make it.

Don't give up on your family.  Be all in -- for the long run marathon of it.  Live by that.

And be blessed.