Saturday, April 30, 2016


Two guys were walking along a road with Jesus and they said to each other:  'Our hearts burned inside us while He talked to us on the road and opened the Scriptures.'

They had a life-changing encounter that day with Jesus when He shared the Scriptures with them.  God's Word is the pathway to a deep personal relationship with Christ.

It says:  'Beginning with Moses and all the prophets Jesus interpreted to them in all the Scriptures things concerning Himself.'

'Everything in the Bible is about Me,' Jesus says.  'Beginning with Moses and the prophets, it's about Me.'

The Bible isn't about you.  It isn't about how you're supposed to feel.  It isn't about how you can get a blessing.  It isn't.

The Bible is all about Jesus.  Every account on every page is about Him -- all 66 books -- even Leviticus -- about Jesus.

The hero of the story is Jesus.  He's the Savior.  He made the payment by His death on a cross.  You're free because of Him.

Let your heart burn for Him.

And be blessed.

Friday, April 29, 2016


I shared several of my personal secrets in my last blog so today I thought I'd share some of Joelene's.

So ... I can't believe you clicked on that link so fast to get here.

Did you seriously think I was going to share her secrets with you?  I'm so disappointed in you.  Really.

But since I have you interested, I will share some secrets - not the ones you were hoping for, but important ones nonetheless.

Pastors have secrets.  Several of them.

One secret we keep is that we feel pressure to live up to your expectations.  We really want to because we love you, but deep down we know we can't meet them all.  But we keep trying.  These days, the pastor is expected to be a wise businessman, a gifted communicator, a charismatic personality, a miraculous counselor,  a bold visionary, a team leader, a strategist, a servant, a passionate worshipper, a lead sacrificial giver, a healer and an evangelist with a model marriage, family and home life.  That's just a little bit of pressure.

Another of our hard-kept secrets is how hard it is for us to tell you what you need to hear.  It's far easier to tell you what you want to hear, and yet the Holy Spirit compels us to do more - at our own risk.  It's another mark of our care for you that while we want to consistently be pastoral in our words, sometimes it's the prophetic we know that needs to be heard.

We have a secret that we're a lot like you.  We want to make a difference - like you.  We sometimes feel like we aren't getting anywhere - like you.  It gives us such a great feeling when we hear someone says, 'Nice job' - like you.  We sometimes struggle financially - like you.

One of our more painful secrets we tend to keep to ourselves is that church life can be hard on our children.  It's a glass house we live in.  We're telling everyone else how to live and sometimes that doesn't work itself out perfectly in our own homes, no matter how hard we try.  Sometimes the crowd's expectation of our families is unrealistic.  Additionally, our odd schedules make it hard to connect with our own families at times.

Another secret is that sometimes we fear we won't have anything to say to you.  It's amazing how quickly seven days go by.  No matter how 'good' we are on Sunday the 7th, Sunday the 14th is only hours away once you walk away from Sunday morning service.  The clock keeps ticking.  We have to be brilliant again in another 164 hours.  God always comes through and we've learned to trust that, but there's a drain that can't be mistaken.

There are many more secrets I could share but one last I can't resist is that sometimes we're lonely.  I don't say that as a 'poor me,' but there are serious things people share with us - secrets - that we will take to our graves.  There is pain we carry for others because we love deeply.  We know friends who have left ministry because they couldn't handle the pain, the stress, the loneliness, the expectations, the struggles.

One thing that isn't a secret and for which we are so grateful is that we are deeply loved in return -- we feel people praying for us -- we have been invited in to small groups of friends' circles to share life with -- we know we're doing what God has called us to do -- we've been given freedom to be imperfect -- we're showered with grace when we misstep.

So thank you for allowing me to share some secrets and thank you for praying for us.

And be blessed.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


So, I decided to share some secrets about myself today.  This is probably extremely unwise and chances are I'll take this post down in a couple of days when I've come to my senses.  But if you're fast you can catch it before I do.

- I was a ping pong champion in high school.

- As a teenager, I was in a trio that won a national first place trophy at a Fine Arts Festival Competition (Think, a really bad version of 'The Voice.')

- I used to spend hours on the floor, running my Matchbox cars around a braided oval rug.  I stopped doing this last year.  I still have a collection of 50 vintage Matchbox.

- I once shook hands with Ronald Reagan.

- In college I poured boiling hot water on my frozen car windshield.  Yeah.

- I play the piano really well (if I say so myself), including reading classical music, chord charts, etc.  I was also the pianist for 3 years for a national traveling choir of 50, where I met Joelene.  She was a vocalist in the choir.

- I've never had a cavity.

- I spent the summer doing my College Internship in Capetown, South Africa.

- I've left my debit card at Menard's four times.  (I don't have to show my ID anymore when I go back to pick it up now.)

- I proposed to my wife in the backseat of a Ford on the way from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Springfield, Missouri.  (Don't judge me.)

- Oreos are my biggest food weakness.

- I was in a car accident when I was 5 that put me in the hospital, caused me to have surgery on my brain (I know that explains a lot) and a diagnosis that I might not live.

- Except for Saturday nights between 6p-8p and Sunday mornings between 9a-noon, I am an introvert.

- I was a vegetarian for 3 months once.

- When it comes to women, I have extremely high standards.  But you actually DO know that about me, because of who I married.  This fact transfers to my three amazing daughters as well.

- I have an unhealthy obsession for the TV show 'King of Queens.'

- I've been to 48 states (Alaska and Hawaii, here I come).

- I prefer sleeping with a warm bed with the covers pulled up over my head (I'm sure there's an analysis there somewhere).

- I've been to 35 countries of the world, but I've never been to South America.  Yet.

- I once lost 30 pounds in a few weeks.

- My middle name is Scott.

- I used to be mortally afraid to stand in front of people and speak.

- I have a tattoo.  (There.  It's out.  Sorry.  Please don't hate me.  It's just one.  That's all I'm going to say about that.  Except that it's my wife's fault.)

- I've eaten grubs, grasshoppers and a scorpion.  Yeah, on purpose.

- I have a super soft spot in my heart for people who are bullied and a super hard spot in my heart for bullies.

- I refuse to own a car that isn't black.

- I'm the E-mail King of the World.

- My favorite book of the Bible is Ephesians and my life verse is Acts 13:36.

- I think it would be a far better world if everyone spoke in rhymes, but I don't understand poetry.

- I've ridden both a camel and an elephant.

- My sense of smell is very poor, considering the size of my nose.

- I have about 1,000 books on the shelves of my office library.

- I'm a huge fan of believing the best about everyone.

- I love sushi.

- Even though I've shared a few of mine today, I can keep secrets really, really well.

- I thought this was fun and easy and I could have added a lot more.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


I heard someone say the other day that the only church they needed was the one found in their living room with a Bible, themselves and a cup of their favorite brew.  I think they meant coffee.  I'm not sure though.

There are people who swear (literally) that their internet preacher is their pastor - the speaker on the radio is their pastor - the Christian TV personality -- the God community that sustains them, encourages them, shepherds them and challenges them is a web-based group of strangers.

I'm happy for them, but . . . that isn't how God mapped it out.

Paul established local churches where he preached and continued to communicate with them long after he'd left.

'Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.'  (Hebrews 10:24, 25)

Paul further gave instructions about what to do when the church met together - publicly read the Scriptures, exhort each other, sing a song and teach one another.  This happens within the context of a local assembly of believers.

We can't ignore Acts 2 in this as the early church assembled faithfully to learn the teaching of the apostles, to break bread together commemorating the Lord's death and resurrection, serve and do community with each other, and pray together.

These are critical to help define what and who the local church is - the hope of the world.  It is within this God-ordained composition that the believer receives encouragement, accountability and instruction, does life, worships God and serves the Kingdom of Christ.

So great to be part of a growing movement of Christ-followers.  Come join us at Journey Church, one church in two locations - Burlington and Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Find us at 

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


I'm not saying it's easy to trust God.  Just that He calls us to - and that it's in our best interest to.

I have some personal areas where I struggle with trusting.  I'm not saying I don't trust.  I DO.  I'm just saying I sometimes struggle.  With ...

... my CASH.  Some people seem to have no problems in this area at all (I'm so jealous of them, which is also something I struggle with), but frankly I think those kind of people are far-and-few between.  It's an area of control for most of us.

But - as every preacher says at least once a month, even if it isn't exactly accurate:  Jesus talked more about money than He did anything else.

"Where your money and treasure is, that's where your heart is."  Jesus said that.

"Loving money is the root of all evil."  Paul said that.  He's real close to being Jesus.

We. Trust. Him.

... my RELATIONSHIPS.  Friendships -- marriage -- acquaintances -- all require trust.  I'm not single, but I imagine single folks have to trust double time for all the relational things they face that I don't.

Children?  Throughout the whole raising-a-family period, extreme trust in God was needed.  Now we're trusting from a distance for our grandchildren.

... my FUTURE.  What we decide to do with ourselves for life -- occupation -- vocation -- mission -- purpose -- calling -- matters a lot.  We hardly want to come to the end of it all and find we've put our hand, heart, head and time to something that mattered little, striving up ladders that ended nowhere.

So we put God first.  We listen to Him.  We follow Him.  We put our hope in Him.

We. Trust. Him.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


I'll cut right to the chase here without a lot of window dressing --- Do you trust your heavenly Father?

If He says He has it covered, does He have it covered?

If He tells you He's working in all things to bring about good for those who love Him, do you trust that?

If He says He's bringing about perfect peace in your life, do you trust that?

If He says you can cast every care on Him because He cares for you, do you trust that?

We spend a lot of time and energy on the WHAT IFs of life.  But what if God does come through for you?  What if He does?

You don't have to be in control because the Master of the universe is.

So here's what to do ...

Get a box.  Any box will do.  Write on it somewhere, 'Trusting God.'  

It's your Trusting God box.  So when you worry about something, give that to God.  It's His now.  Write it down and put it in the box.  Then in order for you to worry about it again, you have to open the box and physically take the paper out.  Then you say out loud:  'God, I'm not trusting You with this right now.'  

That will cure you.

You're worried about your finances?  Put it on the card and drop it in the box.

You're worried about your children?  Write their names on a card and drop each one in the box.

You're worried about your health?  Write it on the card -- drop it in the box.

Because the Bible says:  'Don't be anxious about anything (and I now that's so hard) but in everything by prayer and petition present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.'  (Philippians 4:6, 7)

Now every time you're tempted to worry about that thing, say with as much passion as you put to your worry:  'I trust You, God -- I trust You, God -- I trust You, God -- I trust You, God.'

You don't have to be in control because the Master of the universe is.  What you've put in the box can stay in the box.

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


I remember watching the TV show ABCs Wild World of Sports when I was a kid.  That was a great show.  The best part about the program every week was the downhill skier that totally wiped out on the slopes.
 I lived for that part of the show -- every week.

There's a sport known as extreme skiing.  Skiers go to the top of a mountain and ski straight down at full tilt to the bottom.  As far as I can understand, the goal of this sport is to not hit a tree and die.

One proficient extreme skier is Kim Rikkelman.  When asked for best advice on being successful at extreme skiing, Kim answered: 'Don't look at the trees.  Look at the spaces in between the trees.'

Wow.  That makes a ton of sense.  Don't look at all the distractions.  Look at the spaces in between the distractions.  In other words, don't look at the what ifs of life.

Don't look at the trees.  Look at the spaces in between the trees.

Because worry never changes anything -- for good, that is.  Will worry change some things?  Yes, but not for good.  It will mess up your health.  It will wreck your relationship with God and others.  It will destroy your ability to act.  But worry never changes anything for good.

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And be blessed.

Saturday, April 9, 2016


If you're a person who likes to be in control, raise your hand right now.

I'm imagining you doing it because no matter who you are, you want to be in control.  I don't think there's a person on the planet who doesn't want to be in control.

You can put your hand down now.

We want to be in control of our emotions - in control of our bodies - in control of our finances - in control of our families - in control of our futures.

The worst thing any of us can think of is being out of control.

One of the things none of us have control over is the weather, which is a real trial living in Wisconsin.  I mean, it snowed today on April 9th and it sounds like more is coming tomorrow -- on APRIL TENTH!

All of that is completely beyond our control.  That's why we're scared of them - because we can't control them.

You aren't in control and you'll never be in control.

And what happens during moments we can't control is what the Bible refers to as an anxious heart.  There's a heaviness.  There's something weighing you down, something that's making it difficult for you to cope, something you're worried about that's beyond you.

But God says, "You aren't in control and you'll never be in control."

We have to take our minds off the 'what ifs' of fear.

What if the economy goes south?
What if they sell my company?
What if I lose my job?
What if the doctor gives me a bad report?
What if our marriage doesn't go the distance?
What if we can't have children?
What if we have six children?

God says to take your mind off the 'what ifs' of fear.

Jesus said, "Make up your mind beforehand not to worry."  Beforehand.  Before the situation even comes up, resolve in your mind not to worry.

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 3, 2016


When I look back on my own life I see wrong choices I've made because I was afraid -- opportunities lost because I was afraid to seize them -- moments I was paralyzed fear.

I don't think any of that is what I'm known for and yet, inside the deepest part of me over and over I've found fear grabbing me by the throat and throwing me in prison, making me smaller and smaller instead of bigger and bigger.

And even inside my own cage of inadequacy and fear Jesus speaks:  "Even the hairs of your head are numbered.  Fear not, for you are of more value than many sparrows."  (Matthew 10:30, 31)

You won't find freedom from your cage until you find your value in God.  All the courage in the world won't set you free from fear.  Only love can do that.

'There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.  Whoever fears has not been perfected in love."  (I John 4:18)

So wherever there's love, there's no fear.  Am I reading that right?  I think I am.  And wherever there's fear there's a place God hasn't been given control yet, because perfect love casts out fear.  It drives it out.  It chases it away.  It doesn't politely escort it to the door.  It kicks its butt.

You already know how powerful fear is.  But it's powerless against love.

You won't find freedom from fear until you find your value in God.

Every other master will use your fear against you -- to control you and take over your life.  But when you give God your fears -- when you fear Him and only Him -- when what He says is all that matters -- you don't need to be afraid of rejection or inadequacy or the dark or other people or cages or anything.

When you direct your fears to God, He directs all His love toward you and there's nowhere for fear to live anymore -- you can open the door of your cage.

'Say to those who have an anxious heart, 'Be strong; fear not!  Your God will come and save you.'"  (Isaiah 35:4)

And be blessed.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


I have this crazy recurring dream while I'm sleeping.

I do most of my dreaming while I'm awake.  I don't really dream much in my sleep - that I can ever remember.  I'm sure there's a character flaw to be diagnosed as a result of that.  But there's this one dream . . .

I'm trying to get somewhere -- to an appointment -- to the stage to speak -- to something important -- I'm panicking and afraid because I'm sure I'm not going to make it in time.  Sweat is pouring off me.  I'm in a state of terror, practically hysteric that I will fail my mission.  In this dream little things get in my way over and over that prevent me.  The clock is racing toward kickoff and I can't find my other shoe or the door to get there is locked and I don't have a key.

That dream plagues me more often than any other dream I have.

Fears are normal.

A lot of things we regularly use came about because somebody was afraid.

We invented treadmills because we were afraid of the outside.
We invented light bulbs because we didn't like the dark.
We invented cages because we didn't want the tigers to get too close.

In a world without God, fear becomes a driving motivator of the human condition.

All driven by some form of fear.  Fear of being out of shape -- fear of being eaten -- fear of being the slowest runner when the lion was hungry -- fear of being chosen last -- you name it.  Even if fear wasn't the primary influence, it was often a secondary one.

In a world without God,  fear becomes a driving motivator of the human condition.

Maybe that's why the Bible has so much to say about it.

Stay tuned.

And be blessed.