Monday, November 28, 2016


Hundreds of years ago the apostle John - who had watched Jesus be crucified and then rise from the dead - makes this statement about Jesus:

'I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.'  (Revelation 3:20)

Jesus says:  'I'm knocking because I can't get in.  I've been trying to reach you, trying to get through to you.  Time is running short.  Open the door and surrender, before it's too late.'

And because I love you, I'm going to keep on bugging you -- and because I love you, I'm going to keep putting pressure on you -- and because I love you, I'm going to keep sending people into your life to point out things you don't want pointed out -- and because I love you, I'm not going to let you rest.

He doesn't say that because He's upset with you - or angry with you - or frustrated with you.  He says that because He loves you.

God didn't spare His own Son in order to gain your salvation.  And He won't spare your health or your marriage or your career or your wealth in order to get your attention today.

I don't know if that's too controversial for you to hear, but if God wouldn't spare His own Son's life to save you, do you really think He'd spare anything else to get you to surrender to Him?  If He sacrificed His one and only Son to purchase your salvation on the cross, do you think there's anything else He wouldn't sacrifice to keep you connected to Him?

And be blessed.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


There's something in you and there's something in me that wants to be king.  We want the power and authority to do whatever we want.

We don't want to be accountable.  We want to be autonomous instead.  Beholding to no one but ourselves.

If we have enough money, we don't have to worry about what anybody else thinks -- if we have enough authority, we don't have to be polite -- we don't have to spend time with people we don't want to spend time with -- there's something in you and me that wants autonomy and unaccountability.

When you showed up on this planet X number of years ago in a little earth suit about a foot-and-a-half long, you drew an imaginary circle around yourself and said:  'God, You may have created the universe - You may have control over everything out there, but I'm king of all that's inside this circle.'

At the same time we know very well that when there's resistance to God's will, there is going to be pain.  In fact, if you violate the principles of God either by accident or on purpose, there's going to be discomfort.

When our kids were young, I wanted them to understand the relationship between rebellion and pain. And I realized I could teach them the relationship between those two things myself -- or I could wait and let a school teacher teach them -- or I could wait and let an employer teach them -- or I could wait a let somebody who drives a car with a blue light on top teach them.  Because at some point we'll all be confronted with the reality of the relationship between rebellion and pain.


But 'kings' don't understand this.  'Kings' do what they want.  It's just how kings are.

Some of you may be caught in this dilemma right now because you've tried to be a law to yourself.  You have enough personal leverage - you have just enough authority - so you've made your own law. You may even feel like you're in a wrestling match with God.  God wants you to do something and you don't want to because you don't want to have to be accountable to anybody, because the battle going on inside you is:  I want to be king.

It's time to surrender it all to God.  You make a lousy king.  There's only one King.  He rules it all.  He wants you dependent on Him.  He wants you accountable to Him.

Let Him be King.

And be blessed.

Monday, November 21, 2016


God's judgment never falls randomly.  In fact, His anger has to be pried open.  It's very difficult to evoke God's anger.  But His mercy has a hair trigger.  His grace is so easily activated.

That's why the Bible says God's wrath flows to the third and fourth generations, but His mercy courses to thousands of generations.

God isn't angry with you right now.

That's how I know God isn't angry with you right now.  He loves you too much to let you go.  He pursues you -- even into your sin and disobedience He does.  He pleads with you to turn back.  He'll never leave you alone.  He'll badger you, He'll bother you, He'll pester you, He'll prod you, He'll heckle you ... but if you keep refusing Him, ultimately He'll let you have your way and allow you to reap the consequences of your resistance.

But even this is for our good, to bring us to Him.

'God knows that when the cold wind blows, it might turn our head around.'

And be blessed.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


On New Year's Day, 1929, the University of California at Berkeley was playing Georgia Tech in the Rose Bowl.  Roy Riegels, a Cal defensive back recovered a Georgia Tech fumble, ran across the field and turned to run 75 yards in the wrong direction ... straight toward the University of California's goal line.

One of Riegles' teammates tackled him just before he scored ... for Georgia Tech.  On the next play Georgia blocked the punt and scored.

From that day forward Roy Riegels was called 'Wrong Way Riegels' -- the guy who ran the wrong way in the Rose Bowl.

Super embarrassing.

Maybe our failures haven't been as conspicuous as Roy Riegels, but we have our own wrong way runs and the bad memories that go with them.  There are things in our past we wish we could undo or redo, things we wish we could forget.  If only we could begin again.

                              If only we could begin again.

A poet wrote:
'I wish there were some place 
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes, heartaches and grief
Could be dropped like an old coat at the door
And never be put on again.'

Guess what?  There is such a place.  It's found in the grace of God -- a grace that not only completely forgives our past and puts it away, but uses it to make us better than before.

And be blessed.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


This past Friday evening, we did something at Journey Church that absolutely blew me away.  We celebrated the volunteers of our church at both Kenosha and Burlington campuses with an event called "The Journeys."

A few got special awards but everybody who serves is priceless and honored.  The Dream Team.  These folks are the gears that make the movement of Jesus thrive.  They're the ones who push the cause of Christ forward -- grinding it out day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year.  

The apostle Paul, almost every time he began one of his letters wrote:  'I Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ.'  He saw servanthood as his fundamental identity.

The Journey Award
 That's our  
 identity as
 followers of Jesus, too.  It happens the day you receive
 amazing grace -- the day you become aware Jesus bled and
 died for your sins on a cross -- the day salvation comes to you
 as a gift -- the day you fall on your knees and say, 'What can I 
 surrender to You, Lord, for all Your benefits to me?'

 'Be steadfast, immovable.  Keep abounding in the work of the 
 Lord because your work is not in vain if it is for the Lord.'  (I 
 Corinthians 15:58)


 And be blessed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


What you laugh at has a lot to do with the way you regard yourself.

I love people with a great sense of humor.  Some people are so natural at this.  I envy them.

I've also been around people who painfully use their sense of humor to put everybody around them down. They do it to deliberately to mock or belittle others.

Ultimately sarcastic humor is self-righteous - it's a form of self-justification.  I'll tear you down in an effort to make myself more valuable.  This is what the Gospel demolishes.

There are others who bitterly mock themselves.  At first it looks like a form of humility but it's as self-absorbed as the above version.  It's a sign of a profound spiritual restlessness.

We must keep our lives from either being over-awed by anyone or being under-awed by ourselves.

It's so good to have a Godly, healthy sense of who we are in Christ and a healthy sense of humor.  But it's always to be humor that builds the other up as a show of affection.

And be blessed.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


It was a rare privilege to help lead a Journey Church mission trip to Bahrain (sponsored by the YMCA BAHRAIN) and the United Arab Emirates (sponsored by VOICE INTERNATIONAL) last week:

Bahrain - In Concert
While there the group had ministry in:
     2 schools
     2 women's conferences
     7 churches
     1 Naval base
     3 concerts

Bahrain - Minister of Social Development
I was so proud of our ladies in presenting a WOMEN'S SHINE CONFERENCE in both Bahrain and Dubai as they shared personal life testimonies thru video and live to women in the region.  I sensed the strong power of the Holy Spirit in the room at both conferences.

Some of the places I was honored to speak were an Arabic Church, an African Church and a Filipino Church.  I'm continually amazed at the bond forged between people of different lands thru the simple act of worshipping God.  Seventy-five people stood to indicate they wanted to receive Christ at the latter church alone.
PK in action

It was so much fun to watch our team to rooms full of children via videos, live teaching, games and songs.

The Bahrain/Dubai team

Dubai Church Service

Three-thousand people filled the hall in Bahrain as our band and worship team ripped out two full hours of music and preaching.  I love the way our team poured out their hearts, soul and guts to show the power and love of Jesus to the crowd.  At this particular gathering, the Minister of Social Development of Bahrain came out to listen.  

It was also a great honor to reach out and minister at the Bahrain Naval Base.  Sure, there was a problem with getting electricity to our equipment until 30 minutes before starting time, but we managed and God showed up.

Dubai - In Concert
There was time to do a few fun things while there -- visit the Al Fateh Mosque in Bahrain, Atlantis in Dubai, and take part in a desert safari, including riding a camel.  But it was all about the souls of men and women far from God in the 10/40 window as well as encourage believers who are living in a land hostile to the Gospel.

Pray for Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

And be blessed. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


You may not know this but Wisconsin, where I live, isn't the center of the Bible belt.

It's the center for milk and cheese making.
It's the center of Green Bay Packer country.
It's the center of Harley-Davidson riding.
It's the center of cow-tipping and other such hobbies.
It's the center of the nation's largest music festival - Summerfest.
It's the center for bratwurst.
It's the center for famous people like Harry Houdini, Douglas MacArthur and Frank Lloyd Wright.
It's the center of lake country - more than Minnesota.
It's the center for toilet paper making, which I'm sure has something to do with being the center for milk, cheese making and bratwurst.

But I digress.

It isn't near the Bible belt.  But it isn't exactly secularized the way places like San Francisco or Seattle or New England are.  It isn't that.  Still, here's what makes doing church in a place like Wisconsin perhaps even more challenging than those places.  In those other locations, people know they have no desire for God.  They know they don't believe.  They know they have no intention of submitting their lives to Christ.

That isn't as true here.

We play the game here.  We think we're friends of God here because we think if we're kind of moral, we have God.  We come to church on a weekend and think we have God.  We think we're moral simply because we're better than the guy over there.  But that isn't it.

There's giving it all to Jesus ... and that's it.

Going to church doesn't mean God is our ultimate.  V. Havner said, 'Most church members live so far below the standard you'd have to backslide to be in fellowship with them.'

(Open grimace and groan)

Don't get me wrong.  I think going to church is an awesome thing ... to set you apart.
I think life groups and serving and giving are spectacular ... to grow you in Christ.
But if we're using them in any way as some kind of proof or method of salvation, then we're enslaved to something that will never deliver.

There's giving it all to Jesus -- and that's it.

It's time to pray.
It's time to be in the Word.
It's time to prioritize our lives with Jesus at the center.
It's time to get after the heart of God.
It's time to let it be real inside you.

And be blessed.