Tuesday, September 26, 2017


In the late 1940s, the United States government commissioned an 80 million dollar troop carrier for the Navy.  The purpose was to design a ship that could carry 15,000 troops quickly during war time.  By 1952, construction on what would be christened the S.S. United States was completed.  The ship could travel at 44 knots, steam 10,000 miles without stopping for fuel.  She could outrun any other ship and travel nonstop anywhere in the world in less than 10 days.  She was the fastest, most reliable troop carrier in the world.

The only problem is that she never ended up carrying any troops.

Instead she ended up housing 2,000 passengers who would enjoy the luxuries of 695 staterooms, 4 dining rooms, 3 bars, 2 theaters, a heated pool, 19 elevators, and the comfort of the world's first fully air-conditioned interior.  Instead of a vessel used for battle during wartime, the S.S. United States became a cruise ship whose purpose was to fully indulge wealthy patrons who wanted to coast across the Atlantic.  

Let's state the obvious.  A troop carrier has an urgent task to accomplish -- it's in a war.  The luxury liner is all about the passengers and maintaining their peace and comfort.

Which was the church meant to be?
And what has it, in so many places, turned in to?

The church was deigned for battle.  We're an aircraft carrier, receiving troops worn out from battle, refreshing them again, only to send them back out into the war.  The purpose of the church is to mobilize a people to accomplish a mission to defeat a mutual enemy -- the devil.

Here's the challenge:  Do we face a world with potentially billions of folks going to hell and move our ship into battle?  Or do we sit on the pool deck and wait for the staff to serve us more hors d'oeuvres?

Journey Burlington -- Journey Beach Park -- Journey Lithuania -- Journey Kenosha -- is a warship.  I don't know what other churches are, but I know what we've been called, equipped, prepared, built and readied for.

One thing -- to be sent into battle.

And be blessed.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


Well ... we're still here.

This, after a prediction by some guy that today - September 23rd - would be the end of the world.  This kind of thing has been predicted many times over the years by one person or another with this or that supposed proof.  This time we were presumed to be the victims of mysterious Planet X colliding with Earth and wham-bam!  It's over.

This particular prognostication was made based on various Bible verses and numerical codes found in the Bible.  This forecaster said that recent events such as the solar eclipse and Hurricanes Irma and Harvey were omens of the approaching apocalypse.  

There was also a significant number related to this prophecy - 33.

The false prophet predicting about today said:  "Jesus lived for 33 years.  The name Elohim was mentioned 33 times in the Bible.  September 23rd is also 33 days since the August 21st solar eclipse."  Hmmmm.

NASA has repeatedly said Planet X does not exist.  

Whatever you believe about such things, the almost certain fact (because there's still 2.5 hours left in this day after I post this) ... we're all still breathing and the Earth is still revolving around the sun.  

The end will come when God says it comes.  Don't spend your time or waste your life trying to figure it out or change your life-giving routine to ascribe any honor to such forecasts.

When I first heard that today - September 23rd - was going to be our last day on the planet, I'll admit to an inner pride that rose up.  Today's my birthday.  September 23rd.  What better day to close the doors and turn out the lights than September 23rd.  

And I'm not even 33.

And be blessed.

Thursday, September 21, 2017



Remember that TV series back about ten years ago -- where a bunch of people survived an airliner crash - except for the ones who didn't - and ended up on a deserted island in the South Pacific?  I was able to follow it for the first 22 minutes - after that I was the one who was lost.

Lost things matter.  Lost people matter.

Jesus tells three stories about lost things.

He tells about someone charged with a hundred sheep who loses one.  He was so concerned about that one that he left the 99 in open country and went on an all out search mission to find the one that was lost.

He tells about a woman who lost one of ten coins - and since she only had ten, it was a tenth of her estate - so she lit every candle in the house to begin a painstaking sweep until she found it.

He tells about a father who lost a son.  The son asked for his inheritance long before it was due and went off and spent it all.  In great shame and disgrace he returned home, not knowing if his father would welcome him.  But his father had been watching - all that time - and he embraced his son, kissed him, put a ring and a robe on him and prepared a feast in his honor.

In those stories Jesus makes it clear what His mission on this planet was about - and what ours is to be about as well.  In all three stories what was lost mattered deeply to the one who lost it.

The one sheep mattered to the shepherd.
The one coin mattered to the woman.
The son mattered to the father.  Nothing mattered more.

The greater value of the lost item, the more desperate the search.

Have you ever had a time when you were out somewhere - a store - the mall - a park - and all of a sudden you couldn't find your child?  That's total panic time, isn't it?  You seldom experience that kind of sheer terror.

Remember what happened when you found him or her?  Maybe you were upset, sure, but you also grabbed him and held on like you'd never let go.  We couldn't have pried that child from your arms if we'd tried.

That's the heart of God for you.  He's completely taken with you.  He's completely occupied by you.  He's completely obsessed by you.  The heart of the Father is in ongoing, non-stop, permanent search mode for His children.

You're His missing son and daughter - and He wants nothing more than for you to come home.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


This past weekend I pulled out a drum and a couple of drumsticks and beat the rhythm to a few popular songs:

Sweet Home, Alabama
Hey, Jude
For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
Happy Birthday to You

... just to see if our Journey folks could identify the songs by their rhythm only.

Nobody could.  Crickets.

This was an actual experiment done years ago at Stanford University.  They found the listeners were only able to identify the song 3% of the time.  The interesting thing was that the 'tapper' thought they would be able to guess at least 50% of the songs correctly.

In fact, as I was tapping out Happy Birthday, I was thinking:  'They have to hear this.  How can they not tell this is 'Happy Birthday' I'm tapping right now?'

This whole concept is called The Curse of Knowledge.  Once you know something you find it hard to imagine what it's like not to know it.

Jesus says, 'I want you sent to the world.  Go tell them.  Play the song.'

Because there's no other way they're going to hear.  There's no other way they'll ever know the song.  It's in your head but it isn't in theirs.  We have to tell them.

And be blessed.

Monday, September 18, 2017


Somehow Paul (the one in the Bible) saw his opposition not as obstacles but as opportunities.  Instead of being discouraged by the condition of his boulevard - instead of complaining and whining about how his boulevard was 'going to hell in a hand basket' - instead of gathering up his buddies and picketing and boycotting and signing petitions against his boulevard - he had a spirit that said, 'We can do this!  We can make a difference!'

The reason Paul was able to do that was because of what he believed about God.

The reason our church will grow won't be because of how we do things.  Don't ever think that.  The way it will grow is because we have this firm belief that God is big and in charge.

It will grow because we believe God is strong.
It will grow because we know God is worthy and gracious.
It will grow because we believe the Bible is true and living.
It will grow because we know the Holy Spirit is real.
It will grow because we believe death was defeated by Jesus.
It will grow because we realize Jesus could return at any time.

Because in the middle of great opposition we have unbelievable opportunities -- if we really believe what we say we believe.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Jesus prophesied a people - not a place.
A people - not a building.
A people - not an address.
Relationally rich.

Others will be known by the temple or mosque they attend.  Not so with you.  You'll be known by the people you worship with.

The relationships around your worship are far more important than the rituals of your worship.  That's why Jesus said, when you come to sacrifice to atone for your sin and you bring it to the place -- and there you remember something between you and another - a friction of some kind - an unsettled disagreement - put your sacrifice down and get it right with the other first.

Relationally rich.

That's why so much is said in the Bible about 'one another.'  Over and over and over ...
Accept one another
Care for one another
Bless one another
Submit to one another
Carry one another
Bear with one another
And on and on . . .

So go out and . . . love one another.  Be relationally rich - relationally gracious - relationally caring.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Here's just a reality:  The Christian life is full of obstacles and opposition.  It's the narrow road - the road less travelled.  The 2017 world we live in is not always a favorable place to be a follower of Christ.

But these obstacles aren't new.  There has been opposition to Christ-followers from the time of Jesus and before.

The apostle Paul faced consistent obstacles.  In his own words, he was imprisoned, flogged, stoned, exposed to death, 39 lashes, shipwrecked, hungry, thirsty, cold, naked.

Boy.  You didn't want to be a traveling partner with that guy.

Most of us in 21st century America haven't been flogged or shipwrecked, but the cultural opposition is still daunting.  Traditional marriage is under attack.  Abortion has been legal for decades.  Porn and human trafficking are multi-billion dollar a year businesses.  Divorce is completely normal and altogether accepted.

We're in a culture war.  And frankly, we're getting killed.  And let's be clear.  It won't get any easier.

Drive safely.  Have a nice day.

There are a variety of ways Christ-followers have responded to such opposition.  One way is that many have become desensitized to the world.  Over time they've grown weary and began to give in to the culture.  They have lowered their standards and dimmed their lights.  They began well but the world slowly wore them down.  Before long the things God spoke about became negotiable.

It's so much easier to ordain homosexuals into ministry than to preach that the practice of it is sin.

It's so much easier to shrug off that couples live together so causally than to hold high the standard of God for marriage.

It's so much easier to say it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you're sincere than to say there's only one way to God thru Jesus.

Don't become desensitized to the culture and begin to buy in to what the world buys in to.  Stand your ground, sir.

And be blessed.