Monday, October 23, 2017


Walk in what you believe.

Because if you're giving God and the Word and church a bunch of lip service and you aren't really walking in it, good luck to ya.

Honestly, I don't even get why a person would do that?

Why would you come to church almost every weekend and then go live differently the other six days?  It's an inconceivably silly use of your time to do that kind of thing.  That's called 'church as a hobby,' and seriously, church as a hobby is one of the sorriest hobbies in the universe.

Hobby = an activity done for leisure.

Does that describe 'church' to you?  Activity as leisure?

Read the list of great hobbies below and tell me which one doesn't fit ...
Cake Decorating
Doll Collecting
Jigsaw Puzzles
Martial Arts
Video Games

Which one doesn't fit with the others?  Easy.  CHURCH.

Church is a ridiculous hobby if that's the game you're playing.

Instead ... follow through and stand firm in what you believe.

What good is the power God promises you if you're never going to tap in to it?  But to do that, you have to walk in what you believe.

And be blessed.

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Every single one of us knows where we're weak.  If you say you don't know where you're weak, I'd seriously doubt your ability to tell the truth at all.

We know if we have lust issues.  We know if we have pride issues.  We know if we have greed or anger issues.  We know where we're weak.

We know what keeps us from the being the kind of people God calls us to be.

If you know where you're going to be overwhelmed - if you know that's where you're likely to stumble - then be watchful over that area of your life.  Build defenses around that area.

Maybe you shouldn't watch The Daily Show, know what I'm saying?  If that's where you're weak, maybe you should just turn the TV off and go to bed.

Instead of existing on fats and bad carbs, maybe God forbid you should eat a vegetable or two.  Drink some water instead of all that sugar - if that's where you're weak.

Whatever makes you unravel, be watchful there.

Because you know where you're weak;  everybody does.

This isn't a game.  Be watchful.

And be blessed.

Friday, October 20, 2017


No book, no Bible study, no church service or sermon has taught me the reality of God's love and grace like marriage and family have.

Trying to love my wife and kids the way Christ loves the church has been extremely difficult to do, despite their near perfection.

I love our three daughters.  When they were small and I would say, 'No candy right now,' I wasn't trying to steal joy from her; I was trying to ultimately add to her joy.  When I would say, 'Don't run in the street, honey.  You could be hit by a car,' I wasn't trying to steal excitement from her; I was trying to increase her life so she could experience more excitement.

And in that moment, as I'm attempting to increase their joy and their potential for future excitement and life and she says to me: 'I don't want that from you, Dad.  I'll do it the way I want to do it,' and she wars against what I so desperately want for her -- in that moment -- God is going:  'This is just like another story I know.  The one where I'm trying to lead you, Kevin, and you're like, "Nope, I got this.  I know better."'

It's at that point I start to understand the great love of Christ for me that despite the fact that I war against His hand of love my direction, He continues to pursue me and grace me and extend mercy to me.

In those very few moments when I might lavish affection on Joelene and find her not responding the way I want her to - which is so rare - all of a sudden I begin to grasp the richness of the Gospel of Christ for me - the depth of His grace and forgiveness toward me.

All of that is so hard because when it's hard, we understand the Gospel of Jesus better.  When it's hard, we're more dependent on God.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Men and women are different.

Did you need to open to this page for me to tell you that?

Probably not.

You don't have to be a neurosurgeon to realize that boys and girls, men and women, are different.  God did that.

He creates this planet and sets man - pre-woman - in the garden and says, 'Take care of it.  Cultivate it.  Grow it, create, sustain it, make everything as grand and big and awesome as possible.'

And from that day to this, men have been trying to do that - with everything.  It's just what we are.  We can't help ourselves.

For instance, did you know that 47-year old dudes still keep track of what they bench press?  I'm not kidding.  Why?  Because they want to get bigger and stronger.  That have to.  They can't help themselves.  It isn't a disease of self-absorption; it's how they're made.  It's deep inside them.

You can watch a guy discover a new sport - play it twice - and all of a sudden he's invested two thousand dollars in equipment for it.

He goes out on the lake on a boat with a friend on Saturday and on Monday he's bought all kinds of brand new fishing tackle.  It's what he is.

He goes running with a friend for the first time - next thing you know he has a $400 heart monitor watch.  God did that to us.

The mantra of every man when it comes to sports, cars, technology:  'Bigger, better, faster ... bigger, better, faster ... bigger, better, faster ... bigger, better, faster.'  

We'll toss out the old phone before it's really old just to get the newer, faster, cooler version with all the updated gadgets, bells and whistles.  Help us, Jesus.

Because we're cultivators.  Designed that way.  By God.  Almighty.

But that means we were also designed to cultivate other people - our wives - our children - our families - even those around us -- to encourage others, bless others, pour into others, nurture others, build into others.  And here's the problem:  When men have not submitted themselves to Christ, they're still cultivators.  They just cultivate wrong things - sometimes even bad things.

That's why we need the transforming power of the Holy Spirit - to keep us cultivating what is good and honest and pure and awesome and holy and right.

I'm praying for you, guys.

And be blessed.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


There's a temptation to define open doors as places where people all share our beliefs.  We define an opportunity as a school that doesn't teach evolution or a neighbor that isn't a pagan.

"God gave us such a wonderful 'opportunity' to live on this block."

A great work opportunity is to be employed at a place where your boss is a Christian and all your co-workers go to church.  Those are opportunities.

There's a great tendency to equate opportunity with comfort.

But it's precisely because the days are evil that we must seize the moments, redeem the time, buy up the opportunities.

Because love compels us, friends.  It drives us.  We can't sit idly by and let the opportunities pass.

And be blessed.

Sunday, October 1, 2017


This past week Joelene and I were so honored to be invited to Colorado Springs for Outreach Magazine's unveiling of the 100 Fastest-Growing Churches in America.

While I knew God had been moving at Journey Church and while I realized we were growing, I was not prepared to receive the incredible phone call from Outreach a few months back, revealing that we were on the 100 list.

So we 'journeyed' to Colorado Springs along with a couple dozen of the other 100 Fastest pastors, where we were able to meet some new friends, network with these church leaders, hear their stories of growth, and discuss issues the church-at-large will likely face in the coming years.

I'm the first to say it isn't all about numbers, but the truth is - every number has a name - and every name has a story.  Every number is a soul loved by God.

As I reflect on how Journey made this list, I'm thankful for:

- the great harmony and unity we enjoy at Journey.

- a bought-into vision by all the folks who are part of Journey.

- a great team, both pastoral and volunteer leaders.

- a generosity and passion to serve the communities we do life in.

- the various and growing Journey campuses.

- the persistent and consistent value at Journey to be an outward-focused church, putting a focus on those walking toward eternity separated from Christ.

So I am thankful for a great church - for their love and grace - for their willingness to serve and be sacrificially generous - for an amazingly gifted team of leaders who serve alongside me - but mostly, to a great God who is blessing and helping and pouring out favor undeserved on a group of folks in Beach Park, Illinois and Burlington and Kenosha, Wisconsin and Vilnius, Lithuania, where Journey has campuses today.

We are grateful.

And be blessed.