Wednesday, May 25, 2016


If you're a parent of anyone over 12 years of age, there's been a moment when they wanted to do something and you knew it was bad for them and you had to intervene with your wisdom, counsel, direction, influence and guidance, if not command.

Every parent has known they've understood better than their child the way they should live.  It is a great son or daughter that comes to that conclusion on their own -- that the Father (and mother), under whose care they live, knows and understands the best way he (she) should live.

When we lived in South Central Minnesota, there were people who would take their vehicles on the frozen lake every Winter.  The mere thought of that always used to scare me.  Cars weren't made to drive on lakes.

However, one year -- after a lot of prayer and fasting, I decided to try my minivan (this was 25 years ago) on the frozen lake.  I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and drove my blue Voyager onto the ice.  That ended well, but every year someone would drive their car onto the lake one time too many, providing an example for the city that everyone would remember except for the one who would do this action the following year.  Their car would go thru the ice and sink, usually with someone in it.

What I learned is there's a right time and a wrong time to go on on frozen lake with your vehicle.

Many times the lake looks fine to drive on and yet, underneath the ice has grown shallow and weak, even though it looks strong.

I could exert my personal freedom and choose to drive my car on the frozen lake in late March.  I could say, 'I'm free to drive my car out there if I so choose.'  But it would be bad for the car, it would be bad for me, and it would be bad for whoever was with me.  There are some realities you have to conform to if you want the freedom to go ice fishing on a Minnesota lake in the winter.

The best freedom is found in you conforming to the design of the lake.

Say you're walking on the beach and you come upon a fish lying on the land.  Is that fish now free, out of the constraints of the water?  No.  He's about to die.  If you try to free a fish by putting him on the land, are you freeing him?  No, you're killing him.  The fish is freest when he's in the water as he's created be.

Joelene and I love the restaurant Maggianos.  I have two conflicting desires when we go to Maggianos:  One is, I desire a healthy heart.  I'd like to be in reasonably good shape so I have energy and can live longer.  I'd like to see my grandkids get older.

But that desire (for a healthy heart) says, 'Kevin, order the big salad.'

The OTHER desire says to order it family style -- all you can eat -- two appetizers, two salads, two pastas, two entrees and two desserts.

Am I free to eat whatever I want?  Of course, but by eating whatever I'm free to eat, I sacrifice an even greater freedom -- to life.

Am I free to eat what I wish?  Sure, but by eating whatever i'm FREE to eat, I sacrifice an even greater to life.

Which is the better freedom - eating whatever I want all the time or living strong, long and healthy?

That isn't lived out by following the 'stronger desire.'  Because in the moment I always have a stronger desire to eat what tastes richest and best -- not necessarily what's BEST for me.

But if the stronger desire that I should always follow, then how do I know?

Easy . . . I need something beyond my feelings.  What I need is someone who's studied the body and knows the design of the body and can tell me what' best for me.  So if a doctor, who's studied the body can tell me what the body is meant for and what's good for it, then God, who made your soul can tell you what it's meant for and what's best for your spirit.

And that is your very best form of freedom.

And be blessed.

Monday, May 23, 2016


There's a great scene in the first "ROCKY" film where Rocky and Adrian are discussing the philosophy of life.  Adrain asks Rocky why he's planning to fight the world champ Apollo Creed and Rocky says:  'If I can go 15 rounds with the guy then I'll know I'm not a bum.'

According to Rocky, that's what life is about.  Those 15 rounds.

We each have something equivalent to those 15 rounds, something we believe is so significant we have to have it - we strive for it - stake our value on it ... we want to achieve a particular career status, make a certain level of income, turn out the perfect kids, etc.

That something, whatever it is, controls you because you desperately seek it.  So you become a slave to it.

You have to have success -- so you become a slave to it in that you get depressed if it ever looks like you're not going to be successful -- you're jealous of those who become successful -- you make bad decisions to attain success, like overworking or damaging your health.

You have to have other people's opinions -- so you become a slave to that.  Those opinions control how you dress, how you act, who you hang with -- criticism kills you.

You have to have romantic excitement or affirmation.  You become enslaved to it.  It's the only way you feel value.

You have to have the latest, nicest thing.

You're a pleasure glutton -- it's drunkenness, it's drug abuse, it's food, it's porn.  You're a slave to your body's appetites.

Do a self-diagnosis:  Ask yourself, 'What is it I have to have in order to be fulfilled and happy?'

Or answer this question:  If I could change one thing about my life right now, it would be ________?

Chances are, what you put in the blank has the greatest potential to enslave you.

Think about it.

And be blessed.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


There is a book by A.J. Jacobs called 'The Year of Living Biblically.'  

Mr. Jacobs is basically an agnostic and yet he writes:  'I'm officially Jewish, but I'm Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant.'  Which is to say, not very.

The book's premise is to live out every rule as stated in the Bible for an entire year.  He reads the Bible cover-to-cover and writes down every command he finds, from the Ten Commandments to far lesser known dietary and ritual cleanliness laws.

The he attempts to live by them for a year.

Leviticus says men should leave the edges of their beards unshaven ... so there you go.  He stops shaving and ends up with an unruly beard that makes him look like a member of ZZ Top.  

He stops wearing clothes of mixed fibers.
He starts playing a ten-stringed harp.
He refuses to shake hands with women he thinks might be 'ceremonially unclean.'  Er ... awkward.
He flings little pebbles at folks he considers to be sinners, in an effort to fulfill the Biblical command to stone adulterers.


I hope it's obvious this is not what it means to take the Bible seriously.

And yet the book plays on something many assume ... that to live under the direction of the Bible would not only be an impossible task, but a ridiculous and miserable way to live.

We should realize this is how some outside Christianity view us.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


I decided today on all my routes out-and-about that I would purposely smile really big at total strangers.  I know . . . peculiar . . . but it was just an inspiration I had so I went with it.

Of all the people I smiled at, I only counted three who didn't smile back.  

One was a tough looking dude who probably just thought I was a weirdo.
One was a busy mom who obviously had no time for me with the three kids she was trying to keep inside the grocery cart.
One was an elderly lady.  She may have been blind, I'm not sure.

Everybody else smiled back.  Everybody.  Young, old, male, female, even the Italians smiled back.

There are a lot of things that make me smile.  Here's a very short list that could easily be a hundred times longer:

My wife.

Christmas morning.

Knock-knock jokes.  'Knock, knock.  Who's there?  Interrupting cow.  Interrupting cow wh--  Moooo!'  (I got that one from my 6-year old grandson.  Admit it.  You smiled.)

Rain on a day I can stay in bed.

Opening a new tube of toothpaste.

The TV Show "King of Queens."

Popping bubble wrap.

Kids on a playground.

Me on a playground.

A church full of worshippers.

Turtles yawning.

Clicking a pen over and over until my wife turns to make me stop.

Lime green.  I don't know why, it just does.

A great haircut (mine, not someone else's).

Traveling to Italy.

Portillo's Chocolate Cake.

Singing at the top of my lungs when I'm alone at home in the shower.

Warm bed sheets in the winter.

People who understand my sense of humor without explanation.

Having the privilege of pastoring Journey Church. 

Heart-shaped waffles.

When someone comes to faith in Christ.

Friday mornings.

When my kids and grandkids pull in the driveway to visit.

Whenever someone smiles at me.

So smile.  And I'll smile back - if I don't smile first.

And be blessed.

Monday, May 16, 2016


Atheist philosophers tell us that when we die it's over.  All that awaits is for us to be eaten by worms and to decay.

Does that satisfy you?  Of course it doesn't.

That's because deep in your heart you know - intuitively you know it - that there has to be more.  There has to be justice.  There has to be beauty.  There has to be an eternity.  This isn't all there is.

You can't help but look up at the sky and have a sense of something - Someone - bigger.

Everybody has faith.  You have to make sure yours is in the right thing.

And be blessed.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


It's the WHO of creation that matters.

The Bible doesn't tell us everything we need to know about the WHAT or the HOW of creation, even if you think you have it all figured out.  But it does tells us everything we need to know about the WHO of creation.

We have a firm belief that God spoke and stuff happened -- something from absolutely nothing.

We have a sure belief that there's a God who breathed life into a ball of dirt and created something - someone - a person made in His image.  Our God is all-powerful.  He's supernatural.  This is the God we worship.

The Bible teaches we have a God, not only of beginnings, but of new beginnings.

The book of Genesis is written to Israelites around 1450 BC.  They've just come out of 400 years of hell, enslaved to the brutal Egyptians.  God exposes them to the greatest miracle any of them had ever seen - the parting of the Red Sea.  They walk across on dry land and now they're poised at the edge of the Promised Land after decades of abuse -- and Moses writes:  Let me show you a God who's all-powerful and all-knowing and all-present and all-good and all-just and all-merciful and all-kind -- and we can have a new beginning as a people.

It's the WHO of creation that matters.

It's the same with us.  We have a God who's dynamically involved in His creation and in our lives. And if the Creator God were to step out of your life right now, the whole thing would fall apart.  But He's present;  He's active.  He's come to rescue you.

This God who created it all is the same God who put on flesh to die for you so you might have a fresh start.  He's been that engaged in your life -- from the beginning.

Don't miss the God who loves you and who sent His Son to give you a new beginning so you wouldn't have to face the penalty you deserved.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Immoral Sexuality.  Anger.  Drunkenness.  Physical Violence.  Things everybody in the church pretty much agrees are wrong.  We don't debate over the evil of these.  We're in unanimity.  Holding hands across the church yard banding together against a few sins.

But there are other things we seem to be OK with.  Really OK.

Let's just start with the zinger, shall we?
'I'm just venting.'  That's often how gossip begins.
Or it's under the guise of clarification.  'Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sure seems like so and so is . . . '
'I don't want to say too much about this, but . . . '  It's veiled as concern.

But it's sin.  One hundred percent of the time.  Kind speech is always a far better and more Godly option.

The church can't be missional and comfortable at the same time.  Comfort is the 'church approved OK' sin these days.  Becoming resistant to change -- making secondary issues main issues -- seeing the encroachment of outsiders as messing with personal comfort.  The biggest danger with comfort is, once it gets a foothold it's very hard to uproot and yank away.  When you try to excise this one, the 8-inch fangs quickly emerge.

Ugh.  Right?  Passivity.  Indifference.  Languor.  'You owe me so I'll sit here with my arms folded.  I tithe; what more do you want?'  Really foul - and really sinful.  God isn't about mediocre, normal, ordinary, status quo, or 'OK.'  He's the Creator of the stinking Universe, after all.  This sin might be the reason folks aren't lining up outside the church doors to become believers.  They're looking for what we aren't providing -- passion, zeal, ardor for Jesus.

Am I way off here?

Yikes.  Did PK just include that here?
Eating ourselves sick.  Tripping back to the food bar for the fourth time.  Did I mention you can flood your house with trinkets and still call that gluttony?  There are many ways to express excess.  Gluttony isn't just about your stomach.  It's an appetite craving, but not necessarily about your stuff.  It's about your heart.  Where are the followers who will feast in excess on God?

More, more, more, more, more.  This attitude is so anti-God.  God isn't a taker, He's a giver.  He's The Giver.  We're never more unlike God than when we are selfish consumers of life, home, family, relationships, stuff or church.

Oh.  No.  He.  Did.  Not.  Just.  Now.
Cue the e-mails.
I stand by it.
Jesus would not be caught waving the American flag.  It doesn't mean you and I shouldn't once a year, but don't equate that with any form of spirituality or Christian maturity.  You're called to pray for government and its leaders for sure, but neither America, the President, Congress nor SCOTUS are the solution to this nation's woes.  American tenets can't shape your life to look more like Jesus.  Only the Bible can do that.  If I hear one more person tell me they need the Stars & Stripes on a church stage in order to properly worship Jesus . . . The U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are woefully poor substitutes for Jesus and the Bible.  Though your passport may say United States of America, your true citizenship is in heaven.  To believe anything less is sin.
Remember that.
And save me the e-mail, OK?

There are probably more OK sins I could have added, but I figure this is enough for a healthy reader response.

And be blessed.

Saturday, May 7, 2016


I love what the women of Journey Church did this weekend.  It was Shine 2016 - 'You & Me, Better Together.'  Guests Lysa Terkuerst and Jen DeWeerdt blew it out of the water.  Close to 1,500 ladies in the house worshipping, singing, laughing, crying, praying, partying, doing life together.

These moments are 'highs' for us - not to be missed.

Some would say the sad part is that on Saturday afternoon when it's all being taken down, everybody has to go back to their regular lives.

Go back.  Yes.
Regular.  No.

It's time to SHINE.

There's a right way of thinking that the Gospel of Jesus cannot simply be shown, it must be told.  I agree with that.  Words are necessary.  The plan of salvation for every person isn't altogether intuitive unless someone opens his mouth to share it.

And yet, shining has its place.  A big place.

There's something exasperating about a person who tries to be the Kingdom of God's on stage anchorman or the candidate for the We Love Jesus Party.

I can't always put my finger on why that's irksome, but it is.

We don't sell Jesus the way the guy on the busy road sells tax preparation by wearing the Statue of Liberty costume or the way Little Caesar's sells pizza with the student on the corner wearing a sandwich board.

You can publicize Jesus - or you can SHINE Jesus.

There must be both show and tell for sure.  Probably as much damage has been done to the cause of Christ by the wrong kind of showing as the wrong kind of telling.  Maybe more.  But I find I can sustain showing a lot better and longer than I can sustain telling.  Maybe it's just me.

So SHINE 2016 has officially closed its books.  What remains is the great celebration of what a tremendous event it was.

Your life goes on.  TELL every chance you get.  SHINE without ceasing.

And be blessed.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Today is the National Day of Prayer - May 5th.

Theme:  Wake Up America

Scripture:  "Shout it aloud, do not hold back.  Raise your voice like a trumpet."  (Isaiah 58:1)

Chairman Dr. Tony Evans prayer:

"Dear heavenly Father, we come to You today as a humble people desperate for Your supernatural intervention on behalf of our beloved nation.  We thank You for all the blessings You have bestowed on our land, blessings that have allowed us to bring so much good and benefit not only to our own citizens but to the rest of the world.  The very ideals upon which this country was founded were based on Biblical truths, no matter how some try to rewrite history to deny that very fact today.

This is why our hearts are broken over how You continue to be marginalized and dismissed by both our people and our institutions.  We are also saddened by the fact that Your people have contributed greatly to the spiritual apathy that now engulfs us.  Our satisfaction in remaining religious without being fully committed to living out the truths of Your Word has caused us to become co-conspirators with the forces of evil that are destroying us as a society.

It is for this reason that we personally and collectively repent of our carnality and recommit ourselves to becoming visible and verbal disciples of Jesus.  Enable us by Your Spirit, to no longer be secret agent Christians but rather to publicly declare and live out Your truth in a spirit of love so that You feel welcome in our country once again.

Thank You for Your promise to hear our prayers when we call to You with hearts of repentance and obedience, which is how we are appealing to You today, Father.  On behalf of Your church, we affirm afresh the priority You are to us that You would fill every dimension of our lives as we seek to bring You glory though the advancement of Your Kingdom in our personal lives, our family lives, and in the lives of our churches and our government leaders.  We confidently invite heaven's intervention into all the affairs of our nation and we praise You in advance for Your answer.


And be blessed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


What would be the worst and greatest sin a person could commit in the eyes of God?

Sexual sin?

The Bible - in Proverbs - lists several things God hates.  All those above are on that list.  Dante stole God's list and called them the seven deadly sins.  

They're all bad.  But I think we could add one more to that list:  Independence.

My mom actually lives in Independence.  Missouri, that is.

But this independence is making decisions apart from God.  It's a disconnector from the life of God.  It's:  'I have this.  I don't need You, God.  You can go away now.  I'll handle this.  I'll let You know when I need You again.  Thanks.'

In God's eyes, we aren't independent beings.  Independence is not His goal for us.  He calls us to depend on Him continually - unceasingly - relentlessly - persistently.

One moment of independence and separation from the God who made us and who loves us spells death.

Wise words from Watchman Nee:  "I hope that each of us would be able to say to God, 'Grace me so that I live by the tree of life, not by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  I want to constantly pay attention to life.'"

Dependence is beautiful.
Independence is ugly.

Come back to the Tree of life.  You need Him.  The whole point of life with God is dependence -- attached to the Tree.

'God, save us from declaring our independence from You.  We want to learn full dependence.'

And be blessed.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


Ask me if the Bible is trustworthy?


Is it true?

One hundred percent.

The reason people have so many objections to it isn't because of it's scientific lack or manuscript evidence or proof of authorship.  The truth is, the Bible is just demanding.  It will mess with your life.

It will mess with your marriage.
It will mess with your work.
It will mess with your meals - your habits - your bedroom - your free time.

That's why the objections come.

But from the very first page to the last, the Bible changes you.

And my goal for Journey Church -- Millennials, Gen X-ers, Boomers, Busters, Generation Y -- everybody -- is for us to develop a Biblical worldview about life -- that the Bible would become the lens through which we see the world and make our decisions about

how to parent,
how to do business,
how to give,
how to play and work and have sex or not have it.

Because the Bible speaks to all those things and I'm asking, 'Will you obey it?'

Can we trust it?  Yes.
But I need to ask, 'Will you trust it?'
Because it's no good to say you CAN trust if you aren't going to.

Read a few verses in the New Testament book of James -- until you come to one you aren't currently living out as well as you should -- put it on your mirror, in your car, at your office -- and begin putting that verse into practice in your life.  Do it for one week solid. 
Keep on reading in James -- a few verses at a time -- pick another verse and begin applying it -- something you aren't currently doing fully right now.
Keep going in the book of James.  Share in your life group -- in your Bible study class -- in your gatherings.  Find out how challenging - how demanding - how invasive - the Bible will be in your life. 
May the Word of God burn in our hearts.

And be blessed.