Sunday, December 27, 2009


You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.
Psalm 65:11

The end of a year is always a strange time. We have one foot in the old year while ready to take the first step into the new. We pause to reflect on the past as we anticipate a brighter tomorrow. It’s important to be thankful for God’s blessings thus far but also to remember that His work in your life is not yet compete (Philippians 1:6).

It’s hard to believe that the year 2010 is right around the corner. Not only are we about to begin a new year, we are about to begin a new decade. It’s difficult to believe that ten years ago right now we were wondering about Y2K.

It’s amazing how time flies. It seems like yesterday we were welcoming the new millennium and today we’re already a decade into the new era. When you reflect on the past decade was a time of blessing or trial in your life? No doubt a lot happened in that short amount of time.

The question I would like you to ponder now is how are you going to spend the next decade of your life? This last ten years seemed to fly by and yet so much happened. What’s your plan for the next ten years? Think about your life, your purpose, your family, your relationship with God, etc. Spend time with God and pray about what He has in store for you.

I can honestly say I have never been so excited about the future. I can’t wait to see what Christ has in store for you and His church as He establishes His Kingdom and prepares for His return.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Why is Christmas so important?

Why is Christmas so important?

If you were to ask the average person today to tell you what they thought about Jesus they would probably respond... He was a great teacher, or He was a miracle worker, or even He was a good man. All of these answers would be true, but these are not the reason He came to earth. There are four verses, one from each Gospel, that we call the purpose verses for Jesus’ life.

And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21 (NLT)

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Mark 10:45 (NLT)

For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.
Luke 19:10 (NLT)

Jesus replied, “Now the time has come...I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives... this is the very reason I came!
John 12:23, 24, 27 (NLT)

Jesus was a great teacher, a miracle worker, and a perfect man but the reason Jesus came was to be our Savior. We were all are dead in our trespasses and sins. Our ultimate need is for a Savior that would come, take the penalty for our sins, and restore us into a right relationship with God. Jesus came as a baby, to later die on cross, in order to save us from our sins. Never forget why Jesus came. He came to be our savior.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Romans 5:8 (NLT)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Book Shelf – Primal by Mark Batterson

My Book Shelf – Primal by Mark Batterson

Every now and then in my blog to the church I like to share with you the books that I’m reading that really challenge and inspire me. My hope is that these books do the same for you.

I have a new favorite book and no surprise it comes from our long time friend Mark Batterson. I have enjoyed Mark’s previous books including ID: The True You, In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day, and Wild Goose Chase. His latest book is called PRIMAL, A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity. Mark’s premise is that our generation of Christianity needs a reformation, but not a reformation to create something new but rather a reformation that rediscovers the old.

In Primal, we are challenged to look back at the first Christians and the early church that had to strive to simply exist. It was a time when numbers were insignificant, worldly influence was little, being a Christian was illegal, and the church had to meet in underground graveyards. Batterson asks us to remember their creed, the Great Commandment, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NLT)

In the four sections of the book Mark takes each point of the Great Commandment and reveals...
  • The heart of Christianity is primal compassion.
  • The soul of Christianity is primal wonder.
  • The mind of Christianity is primal curiosity.
  • The strength of Christianity is primal energy.
Through the use of story and Scripture Mark paints a picture of what the renewed believers will look like. That, in reality, they’ll actually look a lot more like the believers of old and that our new reformation will not only be built on creeds but more so on our deeds.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?

Proverbs 20:24 (NLT)

I wanted to write and thank everyone for praying for me the past couple of weeks. As many of you I suffered a concussion the Sunday we moved out of the Prime Outlet Mall in Huntley. Without going into great detail I basically overestimated my strength and coordination and ended by hitting my head quite hard. I have to admit I was pretty frustrated with myself and the situation and had plenty of time to think about it during my week of doctor-ordered rest.

I try to learn from my mistakes. So, when things like this happen or when I go through a difficult time I try to make a list of lessons I’ve learned in the process. But as I began to make my usual list I was challenged in my spirit to instead make a list of things I was thankful for as a result of the accident. Here are a few items from my list...

  • I am thankful for a God that watches out for us even when we don’t make the wisest choices.
  • I am thankful for family and friends that notice and care enough to force you go to the emergency room.
  • I am thankful for a caring and praying church family.
  • I am thankful for a church staff that can carry on the work of ministry.
  • I am thankful for a God the heals.
  • I am thankful for a thick skull.

This weekend I’m praying for you and the services at Christian Life. Leslie and I together with with Pastor Harry and the entire Mission Possible board are in Ft. Lauderdale at an important Mission Possible 25th anniversary event. I will be sure to give Brother Ivo and the entire MP team your love and greetings in the Lord.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Below is exert of the original Thanksgiving proclamation given by George Washington in New York on October 3, 1789.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation...For the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I enjoyed the ministry of the Holy Spirit through our friend and brother Steve Sampson last weekend in our services. I know many were touched by the Word of the Lord that came forth. All four services from last weekend are available in podcast form at

Steve’s timely message to our church was on the subject of the joy of the Lord. Here are some of my favorite scriptures on experiencing God’s joy for you to meditate on this week.

  • Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy... Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete... In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:22, 24, 33 (NIV)
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NIV)
  • A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:13 (NLT)
  • Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. Proverbs 12:25 (NLT)
  • ...but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 (KJV)
  • Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)
  • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you... Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9 (NIV)

Saturday, November 07, 2009


Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master.

Romans 12:11 (MSG)

This past week Leslie and I were a part of a pastors’ retreat with Deer Ridge Ministries. Deer Ridge is one of the ministries we support monthly with our missions giving. There is no doubt that Deer Ridge is impacting hundreds of pastors and churches across the nation. You can find out more about Deer Ridge at

With all of the love from the church during Pastors Appreciation Month and then a week at Deer Ridge, Leslie and I feel blessed and refreshed! We are well rested and ready for what God has in store for us at Christian Life. Thank you!

Let me ask you, are refreshed and ready for the life God has called you to live for Him? Do you take a day of rest to connect with God? Did you realize that in the Ten Commandments God talks more about taking a day off than about lying, murder, or adultery?

God even took a day of rest on the seventh day of creation. Did He need it? No. God was modeling an important principle of life. Exodus 20:8-9 says, “Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy. You have six days in which to do your work but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me. On that day no one is to work.” (NLT) Psalm 127:2 says, “It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night... for God gives rest to his loved ones.” (NLT)

Make a commitment this week to rest. Don’t fight it like an immature child who doesn’t want to take his nap. Don’t say you don’t need it. You need it physically, mentally, and spiritually. You need it. Your family needs it. Just do it! Rest and get refreshed!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Prayer Is Optional

Pray all the time.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (MSG)

This past week I attended a pastors’ retreat. I received the schedule of the days events and there were a variety of events we were strongly encouraged to attend and then I noticed the prayer time was “optional.” Optional? Interesting.

I know that those in charge of planning the event didn’t mean anything by it. And honestly, I’m not trying to find fault. I just wonder how many of us when we schedule the events of our day we make prayer “optional.”

Prayer is the glue in our relationship with God. And we are commanded in Scripture to “pray all the time.” But too often we wait to pray when we need something. Or maybe when think about it. Or maybe when someone asks us to.

What would any relationship be if you only rarely communicated? Or only talked when you needed something? Simply put, no communication, no relationship.

I want to challenge you to schedule a prayer time during each day. And don’t allow it to become “optional.” God loves you. He wants to hear from you. He may even want to say something to you. Make the time.

Why Does God Allow Pain?

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

Last week the staff and I were able to attend the WYLL 1160AM Pastor’s Appreciation Brunch. We had a wonderful time fellowshipping with pastors and church leaders from across Chicagoland. The keynote speaker for the event was Greg Laurie who will be hosting one of his Harvest Crusades in Chicago in the fall of 2010.

Pastor Laurie’s theme that day was “Preaching Through Pain.” He eloquently shared with us that pain reminds us that we need God. That even through the painful seasons of our life we have to have faith in the plan of God. Pastor Greg reminded us that God never tells us His whole plan, He just tells us that He has a plan.

So why does God allow pain in our lives?

  • It gets our attention.
  • It humbles us.
  • It teaches us truths we would otherwise not learn.
  • It gives us a new compassion for hurting people.

Don’t waster your pain! Allow God to work in your life as you learn and grow through your pain.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Close Enough To Hear God's Whisper

Yet I am always with you;

you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,

and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you will perish;

you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

But as for me, it is good to be near God.

I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;

I will tell of all your deeds.

Psalms 73:23-28 (NIV)

There is something about being close to God. But how do you get “close” to God? One way is to make time for God. Corporately, it’s important to make time for church, small groups, and retreats. Privately, we must guard our daily quiet times with God.

How close are you to God? Looking at Psalm 73 are you close enough to God to hold His hand? Are you close enough for Him to guide your steps? Are you “far” from Him in danger of perishing?

The question we should always be asking ourselves is, “Am I close enough to hear God whisper?” Whisper His Name and He will answer you!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Who Am I?

There are many great Christians who faithfully lived out God’s promise of abundant life. One of which is Dietrich Bonhoeffer who is best remembered as the young pastor/theologian martyred for his leadership against Hitler and the Nazi army. While Bonhoeffer has inspired many with his heroic life, he too wrestled with his identity and the life God gave him. Here is a poem he wrote while in prison.

Who am I?
This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine.

It is comforting to know that even our greatest heroes struggle with the issue of identity. This profound poem teaches us what we have been learning in our sermon series on THRIVE: no matter what happens in our life our ultimate identity must found as a child of God. You can listen to the latest messages on THRIVE at

Monday, October 05, 2009

My Book Shelf – Extraordinary by John Bevere

A brand new book from our friend John Bevere fits our fall sermon series, THRIVE, here at Christian Life. We so enjoyed Pastor Bevere’s series Drawing Near and we believe that he is a fresh voice to the body of Christ. I just obtained his newest release, Extraordinary, and I believe it fits what God is saying to us as a congregation right now.

There’s a question that troubles many believers: “Why am I not experiencing more joy, more hope, more satisfaction, more intimacy, more power, more everything in my Christian life – didn’t Jesus promise that?”

He did promise an abundant life, but too many people are trapped by the curse of “the ordinary.” They have accepted the wrong idea that following God means losing individuality, creativity, and a passion for achieving lofty goals.

Nothing could be further from the truth! John Bevere builds a convincing case, straight from Scripture, for a way of living marked by extraordinary experiences and accomplishments—the life God always intended for his children.

Each chapter provides a guide to understanding God’s incredible plans, and how to enjoy a life where he adds the “extra” to “ordinary.”

You can check out this book and more at John Bevere’s ministry web site

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Book Shelf – If God Is Good by Randy Alcorn

My Book ShelfIf God Is Good by Randy Alcorn

Recently, as a pastor, I have had a lot people ask me questions about God, suffering, and evil. In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.
Pick up a copy of If God Is Good and read more at Randy’s blog

Monday, September 14, 2009

10 Minute Quiet Time

Welcome to Christian Life Church on Back to Church Weekend. We are so glad you are here! Christian Life Church is a worshipping, teaching, caring, and sharing church that connects people to God, connects people to people, and connects people to their calling. It is an honor as a church to offer so many ministry opportunities for you, your family, and your friends to connect. Beyond your involvement at Christian Life my heart is that you would connect with God each day.

Last Sunday I asked each of you the question, “Can you give God ten minutes each day?” Remember, obey God in the little things and He will do something BIG in your life! Here is the 10 Minute Quiet Time model I shared last Sunday.

10 Minute Quiet Time

1. Pray - 2 minutes
Use 3 Types of Prayer - 1. Praise 2. Thanksgiving 3. Asking

2. Read the Bible - 5 minutes

Read one chapter with a highlighter – If you have any questions just ask. (If you don't know where to start begin with Psalms, Proverbs, Mark, John, or James.)

3. Pray, Listen & Write - 3 minutes

Pray about what you just read then be quiet and listen to God. If you want, write down what happened during your time with God.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back To School

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

This past week our boys went back to school. And might I add, not a moment too soon. ;-) I love this time of year for a number of reasons. A new school year for our children means:

  • A fresh start.
  • New school supplies.
  • Seeing old friends and making new ones.
  • A set schedule.
  • A new found excitement.

Back to school season also marks the unofficial back to church season. As the school schedule begins to fill up our calendar, we have to make sure that we make room for God in the life of our family. Looking at the benefits a child receives with returning to school, allow yourself to experience these same benefits this fall season at Christian Life. Make a fresh start. Get a new supply from God. Reconnect with old friends and make some new ones. Schedule regular church events on your calendar. Get a new found excitement for God and His family.

Visit the Ministry Fair in the lobby to see where you and your family can connect with God, connect with other believers, and connect with your calling.

Also, remember Back to Church Sunday, September 13. Pray about who you can invite to church that weekend.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What’s in a name?

It’s been said that, “Nothing is sweeter than the sound of one’s own name.” There is dignity when someone remembers our name and a sting when someone forgets.

The dictionary defines name as “a word or words by which an entity is designated and distinguished from others.”

Out of the over six billion people in the world today God has created you to be a unique individual and He knows you by name. What an awesome thought! In a world where we sometimes feel invisible or wonder about our real value, we can know that God, the Creator of the universe, loves and cares for us enough to know us by name!

Let me ask you something, do you know the names of the people sitting around you at church? How about the people who live on your block? What about the people at the stores you shop at? The restaurant you eat at? The gas station? Your school?

Convicted? I am. As part of God’s family I want to resemble my Heavenly Father. Our Father loves everyone enough to know them by name. We begin to love others by getting to know them by name.

Why not begin with the people you are sitting next to today?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Let Your Light Shine

You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
Matt 5:14 (NLT)

As many of you know, it was my privilege to be asked to pray this past week at the Mount Prospect’s Walmart grand openings. There were two opportunities to pray. One was a private gathering with all of the associates and their families along with VIP’s from the city and state. The other was the grand opening to the community. Both were wonderful experiences. One Walmart associate commented after our prayer time that “it was like having church at work!”

What surprised me the most were the strong reactions I received from both believers and nonbelievers. Both sides felt free to offer both condemnation and praise. As a pastor I am used to navigating varying opinions, but the judgments I received this past week were especially intense.

I have felt the same strong opinions as we have planted our CLC Huntley campus in the Prime Outlet Mall. I believe these types of reactions come when we take our faith outside the walls of the church and into our community. The devil doesn’t mind if we hide out together and worship, but once we step out to impact the world all hell unleashes its fury.

Persecution should never stop us. Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT) Jesus also promises, “I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Matthew 16:18 (NLT)

This week take your faith outside the walls of the church. Share your testimony. Do something kind in Jesus’ name. Maybe have “church at work.” Stretch yourself. Be ready for opposition. And always remember, God is with you always and will give you the strength you need!

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:1-3 (NLT)

I’ve seen their pictures of earth, but I can’t imagine how it feels to be an astronaut looking back at our planet from outer space. I’m awed as I sit a plane looking down at the lakes, rivers, mountains, winding roads, large cities, and small towns. You see His creation and like God you say, “It is good!”

There is a principle in life: distance often times gives us perspective. That’s one reason I love to fly. On the ground billions of people are struggling through the stress of life and for a few hours I am able to fly above it all and enjoy God and His beauty.

Christ invites us not only to new life in Him, but also to a new perspective. Christ calls us up to His level, His perspective, to view our reality with God’s eyes. When see life from God’s vantage point our perspective changes. There are things that make God weep. There are things that make God smile. When we get in tune with God’s thinking we are on the narrow road of discipleship headed toward the abundant life God promised us in John 10:10.

God has so much more for you than just surviving the daily grind. This week, take Christ up on His invitation to “set your sights on the realities of heaven.” Fly above your limited limit perspective. Take a look at your life and your world from God’s heavenly viewpoint.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Then King David said…”For I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing."
1 Chronicles 21:24 (NKJV)

Often times I enjoy leftovers. Finding something in the fridge from the night before that hits the spot for a 2nd time. I remember as a kid complaining about leftovers. “Ah Mom, this again.” Now as an adult I enjoy my leftovers and think about the money I am saving by eating the same meal twice.

There is a principle all through Scripture that we are reminded of during offering time that our first and best should always belong to God. Unfortunately, too many of us offer God the leftovers in our life, and I’m not just talking about our finances.

The Bible tells us to love the God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. The Message Bible says it this way… “So love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.” (Mark 12:30) Here are some questions to help us make sure our walk with God is a priority.

Heart (passion) – Do you love Him more than anything else in this world?

Soul (prayer) – Does God have first place in your life? Do you trust in Him more than anything else?

Mind (intelligence) – What occupies your thinking? Does “heaven fill your thoughts?” (Col. 3:1,2) Do you meditate on things that are good and pure? (Phil. 4:8)

Strength (energy) – Do you do all you do every day as unto the Lord? (1 Cor. 10:31)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cub Scout Christianity

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
Matt 16:24-25 (NIV)

Recently I was talking with a young man that was on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. He was telling me about what he had to accomplish this summer to stay on track with his goal. I have to admit, I was impressed, it quite a list of things to do.

I remember being a Cub Scout when I was young. I still remember the motto, “I promise to do my best, to do my duty to God, and my country, to help other people, and obey the law of the pack.” I enjoyed my time as a Cub Scout so much so that I enrolled Luke in the program as soon as he was old enough. The problem…like his dad, Luke only lasted about a year.

See I loved being a part of the group, going to the activities, wearing the shirt, getting the badges. I didn’t like all the work that went into getting to the next level. It was demanding and I wasn’t up to the challenge.

I think there are a lot of Christians that live at a “Cub Scout” level with God. They take the “oath,” wear the uniform, do the basics but never take the step to get to the next level. They call themselves “Christians” but aren’t willing to become “disciples.”

The truth is that all disciples are believers, but not all believers are disciples. The life of a disciple is not an easy one but it is a part of the abundant life Christ wants you to live. …narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matt 7:14 (NKJV)

This summer make a commitment to take the next step with God!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ten Commandments

Got a great email from a friend this week…


1. no1 b4 me. srsly.

2. dnt wrshp pix/idols

3. no omg's

4. no wrk on w/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)

5. pos ok - ur m&d r cool

6. dnt kill ppl

7. :-X only w/ m8

8. dnt steal

9. dnt lie re: bf

10. dnt ogle ur bf's m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.

M, pls rite on tabs & giv 2 ppl.

ttyl, JHWH

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…
Eph 5:25 (NIV)

This is the summer of weddings! We celebrated with Dan and Angela last weekend. Erick and Nerissa this weekend. Steve and Melanie next weekend. The weekend after that we have a family wedding in Kenosha. And that’s just June!

It’s beautiful to watch young love during the ceremony as they hold hands and make their vows to…

To have and to hold, from this day forward,
For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,
Till death do us part.

Hearing these vows remind Leslie and me of the vows we made over 15 years ago. I don’t think anybody really realizes what those vows mean on their wedding day. It’s only after years of life, the daily grind, keeping up the house, disagreements, getting through a financial crisis, kids, miscarriages, health scares, etc. do you really realize what it means to vow to love your spouse in the good times and the bad.

It is essential that we invest in our relationship with our spouse to preserve the vow that we made on our wedding day. The same is true in our relationship with God. We must make investments in the most important relationship anyone of us will ever have. This week get out your Bible, a devotional, a worship CD. Make time for God. Pray. Listen. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

God Is With You

“Don't be afraid of people. I am with you, and I will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 1:8 (GW)

The summer season is upon us. The weather is warm. The children are out of school. Leslie and I are finalizing our family vacation.

One thing Leslie and I have talked about is having a family theme for each summer. This year’s theme: The Summer of Adventure. The boys are getting bigger and it’s time to do more together. If it’s fun or challenging or different we are going to try it as a family. I’m excited for our Summer of Adventure. I know that we are going to have some remarkable experiences as a family.

The thing about adventure is that it’s so unpredictable, risky, sometimes dangerous. Some people love adventure. Some avoid it. Others wish their lives weren’t filled with so much “adventure.”

When I think about the seasons of life, especially the “adventurous” ones, I remember a specific promise of God. When life is difficult, out of control, and we are not quite sure how everything is going to turn out I look to God’s most frequent promise in His Word. More than any other promise in the Bible, God promises that no matter what, “I am with you!”

What a promise to hold on to! Talk to God about what you are going through. Open up His Word and read His promise to you. No matter what you are facing today, this week, this summer, remember you are not alone, GOD IS WITH YOU!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

What You Feed Grows

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Romans 8:5-9 (NKJV)

There is a principle in life: What you feed grows. This principle works not only in the natural world but also in the spiritual. We are created with a body and a spirit. What we feed our physical body nourishes us. When we eat healthy food we reap healthy bodies. When we eat junk food and our bodies pay the price.

The same is true when it comes to our spirit-person. What you feed grows. Paul, in his epistles, writes a lot about the difference between living in the spirit and living in the flesh. Our spirit person either prospers or perishes depending on what we feed ourselves spiritually speaking.

What is your spirit feeding on: the things of God or the things of this world? What do you listen to on the radio? What do you watch on TV? What do you read? What do you search for on the internet? What do you think about? What can’t you get enough of? Are these things feeding your flesh or your spirit? What’s growing? What’s dying? Our spirits are healthy when we feed on the Word of God, when we pray, when we worship, when we set our minds on things above. (Colossians 3:1-3)

Monday, May 25, 2009

My Book Shelf – Clutter Free Christianity

For many, Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season and summer is a great time to pick up a new book and read. Let me share with you a great new book that I hope will bless you and invest in your walk with God.

Your greatest desire is to please God, but with each passing week, your spiritual to-do list grows longer. As you strive to fulfill a never-ending inventory of requirements for being a godly parent, spouse, student, employee, friend, etc., you feel increasingly disconnected from the God you’re trying to serve.

Clutter Free Christianity, by Robert Jeffress, addresses the question “When did the Christian life become so complicated?” by showing readers how to partner with God in the process of spiritual transformation by following Christ’s example in forgiveness, obedience, trust, contentment, service and prayer. It’s time to cut through the clutter and get to the heart of what it means to please God. As worn-out Christians work to reduce the clutter by focusing on the principles of faith, readers will find their spiritual to-do lists shrinking and their love for God increasing. It all comes with embracing Clutter-Free Christianity.

Through solid biblical teaching and practical insights, Dr. Jeffress points readers toward a revitalized faith centered on becoming more like Jesus in action, attitude and affection and helps readers clear away the clutter and reveal the heart of God.

My Book Shelf – Clutter Free Christianity

For many, Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season and summer is a great time to pick up a new book and read. Let me share with you a great new book that I hope will bless you and invest in your walk with God.

Your greatest desire is to please God, but with each passing week, your spiritual to-do list grows longer. As you strive to fulfill a never-ending inventory of requirements for being a godly parent, spouse, student, employee, friend, etc., you feel increasingly disconnected from the God you’re trying to serve.

Clutter Free Christianity, by Robert Jeffress, addresses the question “When did the Christian life become so complicated?” by showing readers how to partner with God in the process of spiritual transformation by following Christ’s example in forgiveness, obedience, trust, contentment, service and prayer. It’s time to cut through the clutter and get to the heart of what it means to please God. As worn-out Christians work to reduce the clutter by focusing on the principles of faith, readers will find their spiritual to-do lists shrinking and their love for God increasing. It all comes with embracing Clutter-Free Christianity.

Through solid biblical teaching and practical insights, Dr. Jeffress points readers toward a revitalized faith centered on becoming more like Jesus in action, attitude and affection and helps readers clear away the clutter and reveal the heart of God.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mother's Day - Part 2

In last week’s blog I had moms share about the greatest need in their lives. Here is one more response I wanted to share with you from a mom with grown and growing children. Jan E. shares…

“I feel the greatest need is keeping one’s perspective rooted in God and holding to one’s moral beliefs. There are so many pressures from the outside now - pressures to work so you can meet bills, pressures in the job, pressures to have your kids involved, pressures to give your kids the best, or to have the big home, the right clothing, a cool car. It’s easy enough to fall into traps and lose sight on what is important in our lives.

is a precious commodity, and it's difficult to balance time if you're working and taking care of a home and husband and kids and you've got the carpool going…and then there is still church!

Mom's need to look ahead, to think about what they want to be able to say years from now, to see what are the things they want their children and families to come away with at the end of their time on earth.

God HAS to be foremost in lives! We have family members who do not attend church, who never understood why church took priority for us, however, we also brought BACK family members to church because that was our talk, our focus. God is first, and then the people he has given us follow. That meant keeping our focused on prioritizing time and activities. With our kids, they were involved in sports and other things, but our rule was that if it meant a practice EACH Sunday that would pull the family apart from worship together, it was a no go. There are times Sunday worship cannot happen, but our church also has Saturday night, so we CAN make sure we are there.

We made it a priority to have dinner together each night as close to 100% of the time as possible. We set aside times to go places together - family trips, family vacations, and even parties we'd have or attend usually allowed the kids too because our friends felt the same way.

As we get older, we see family members and friends who have become ill and died. You don’t get time back. You possibly don't get to worship later or to call someone next week or to visit them next year. We don't know, so moms have to focus on who is around them and on who is utmost in their lives. All else will fall into place thereafter.”

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

This week I asked a bunch of moms on Facebook to share with us their greatest needs. It was helpful to hear their heart. Here are just a few of their responses.
  • “Time… time alone, time to get things done, time to be appreciated, time at the spa... “
  • "In no particular order: working household appliances, caramel cone ice cream, friends, some "me time" every so often, hugs, a helpful and supportive husband, DVR/cable, a nearby Target store, guidance, wisdom, peace, JESUS!”
  • “Maids, good babysitter, pedicures, coffee, time alone”
  • “Encouragement, gratitude, recognition of their hard work, strength, patience”
  • "To know they have made a difference in their families lives.”
  • “In a word: support. Support from their husbands on a spiritual, emotional & physical level. Support from their families. Support from their friends.”
  • “I need my friends to help bring me down when I'm on the brink of insanity and to lift me up when I feel like life is playing a cruel joke on me.”
  • “Us moms need to know what we are doing REALLY matters!!! The daily 24/7 busyness and time we take for our children's lives are developing and building the foundation for the rest of their lives. It matters and sometimes moms don't feel like it does. We need to feel supported, appreciated, loved, safe, secure, and encouraged through it all.”

Thanks Moms! You are doing a great job! And remember, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Thank You

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.
Philippians 1:3 (NLT)


I was overwhelmed. My 40th birthday celebration last weekend meant more than you will ever know. What a surprise, the whole weekend. I felt loved and honored by you all. I want to thank Leslie, our church, family, and friends for putting together a birthday celebration I will never forget. You guys are the best and I am blessed to have you all in my life. Thank You!

I have been reflecting on being thankful this past week. God commands it in Scripture (Psalm 100:4 and Colossians 3:15) and if we pause to reflect we all have things for which to be grateful. But how often do we stop to say, “Thank you.” First of all our thankfulness needs to be expressed to God each day. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. (James 1:17) It honors God and we give Him worship when we pause and say, “Thank you.”

Next, think about who you need to thank. After last weekend I have a lot of “thank you’s” to write. Please be patient ;-) Take time and think about who you need to say thank you to this week. Make the call, set up coffee, or write the note. Sometimes all you have to say is, “Thank you.” Take the time. They deserve it. And you need to do it.

Let me close by saying thank you for praying this past week for our zoning meeting with the city of Huntley. We passed through two of the boards and now our request goes before the city council this coming Thursday evening. Continue to pray that God’s will will be done and that we will be able to move into the Prime Outlet Mall at I-90 and Rt. 47. God has big things in store for us out there!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Do Over

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lam 3:23 (NLT)

Last weekend in our video Dave Ramsey talked about getting a “do over” in life. Remember playing baseball in the backyard as a kid and when something went wrong you called for a “do over.” God’s grace allows for “do overs” even in our adult lives.

Dave also talked about taking care of the four main areas of our lives. Turning 40 last week got me thinking about a “do over” in every area of my life. Here are some questions to ask yourself when analyzing your personal “do over.”

Physical. Am I taking care of the one body God has given me? What can I do to increase my energy and better my health?

Mental. Am I continually learning? What am I reading? Should I take a class? Should I develop a relationship with a mentor?

Emotional. Am I being completely honest with my feelings? What are my motivations? Should I join a small group or develop an accountability relationship? Should I visit a counselor or life coach?

Spiritual. Do I live my life according to what I know the Bible says? Am I active in the family of God? Am I practicing the spiritual disciplines? Am I close enough to God to hear His whisper?

It’s never too late for a “do over” in any or every area of your life. Don’t let anybody tell you different. God’s Word promises, His mercies begin afresh each morning.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Turning 40

Seventy years are given to us. Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.
Psalms 90:10 (NLT)

I’m turning 40 this week. I know it’s not the biggest deal in the world, but I don’t do well with big birthdays. I have a tendency to think too much about the brevity of life. I understand that for some in our congregation I’m still young and to others I am ancient. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

But when you look at what the Bible says, along with the average lifespan these days, when you hit 40, even with good health, your life is about half over. I can’t believe how fast the first 40 years went and my dad amusingly mentioned that the second 40 go even faster. How is it that even a long life can seem short?

I believe it’s because we were made for more. Much more. We were created for an eternity with God. So while we have breath in these mortal bodies we are preparing for eternity. I have to keep an eternal perspective remembering to live for the glory of God. It’s only what I do for Him that will matter for eternity.

The Bible says, “Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” 1 Cor. 3:12-15 (NLT)

So how have I used my first 40 years? If the Lord tarries, how will I use the next 40? It’s important to think about. I want it said of me what was said of David, “David had done the will of God in his own generation.” Acts 13:36 (NLT)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Love Your Enemies

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Luke 6:27, 28

Last week someone broke into our minivan. Apparently, it’s not wise to leave your GPS in the window overnight. I apologize for the sarcasm but it was a chintzy GPS and I thought I lived in a pretty safe neighborhood. I should have left the doors unlocked so they could have just taken it. Instead they threw a brick through the window doing even more damage to the interior of the car.

The next morning when I discovered what happened I felt violated and angry. How dare they! I didn’t care that much about the GPS I was resenting the time and money it would cost getting the van back into working order.

I had busy day waiting for me. After the police came I began cleaning up the mess. The more I cleaned, the angrier I became. I began thinking about what I would like to do to the person or people who did this. I was hoping that the police would catch them so I could let them have it in court. Maybe the judge would let me throw a brick through the window of their car!

As I was kneeling on the ground sweeping up glass I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Pray for them.” I quickly ignored the Spirit’s leading and continued to sweep and fume. As the prompting grew I finally relented and said a prayer as I swept and almost came to tears on my knees in my driveway.

I share this story with you because I needed to be reminded that I can’t pray for someone and hate them at the same time. We all need to be reminded to pray for our enemies. When we pray God’s love replaces our hate. Who do you need to pray for today?

Sunday, March 29, 2009


“I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents”.
Luke 15:10

A little over a week ago our youngest son, Mark, prayed and asked Jesus to come into his heart. What a precious moment it was as we sat on the couch in the living room while Leslie led him in the salvation prayer. I am so happy I was there that morning to witness the special moment.

Luke and Matthew were already at school. Leslie was sitting on the couch in our living room reading her Bible when Mark came in and snuggled up on the couch. They got into a conversation about Jesus and the Bible and Mark decided he wanted Jesus to come into his heart. Leslie called and I came just in time to hear his little prayer. These are the moments that Christian parents live for.

As I have reflected on that moment I think about the influences in young Markey’s life. I have asked myself, what led him to that moment? I think about what he learns at home and church and school. How did he come to the realization at the age of 5 that he needed a personal relationship with God?

I don’t want to give the impression that all our family does is sit around the house praying and reading our Bibles. Trust me, our home can be just as crazy as everyone else's. But, what if Leslie wasn’t reading the Bible that day? What if instead she was watching TV, reading the latest magazine, etc.? Would it have led to the crucial conversation with Mark? Probably not.

Whether we like it or not, we influence the world around us. What is your spiritual investment right now? How are you impacting your family, friends, the people you interact with each day? How are you investing in yourself spiritually? Take time this week to make some positive spiritual investments in your world and watch what God will do!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Practical Prayer Ideas

Never stop praying.
1 Thessalonians 5:17

Here is something I read this week from P. Douglas Small of Project Pray Ministries.

Practical Prayer Ideas
  • Do you know that 75% of Christian couples do not pray together? Break the trend – ask your spouse to pray with you today! Pray to be more like Jesus.
  • Go to a secular bookstore, not to purchase new books, but to pray. Walk the aisles. Look at the titles. Pray.
  • Prayer walk your house. Pray in every room. Ask yourself, “How can our home itself more fully honor Christ?”
  • Find a vista point. Pray for peace in and over your city.
  • Go to the census website and look up statistics on your city or county. You may discover that the world is at your doorstep. Ask God if the Great Commission applies to people groups living next door?
  • Give a gift today – the gift of joy or kindness, perhaps to someone you don’t even know. Give a “God bless you!” A smile. A prayer. A heart-felt “Thank God for you.”

Monday, March 16, 2009


It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High.
Psalm 92:1

Do others know what God has done in your life during the last 7 days?

The last 30?

When was the last time you verbalized what God is doing in your life? Sharing our ongoing testimony is an essential ingredient in a vital and growing relationship with God. There are tremendous benefits that come from sharing what God is doing in your life.
  • Others hear and are able to rejoice with you.
  • You are reminded of God’s faithfulness and goodness.
  • It increases faith.
  • It inspires.
  • It encourages.
  • It energizes.
  • It helps us and other get through tough times.
  • It demonstrates God’s presence and power in our lives today.
  • And… God gets the glory!
Take time today and this week to tell a friend or family member what God is doing in your life. Share with your small group. Then email the church office ( your praise report of what God has done for you! Let us rejoice with you and be reminded of the goodness of our God.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Echo Within by Robert Benson

Another book from My Bookshelf I want to mention quickly is The Echo Within by Robert Benson. Written out of his own lifelong search for and response to the calling voice of God, Robert Benson recounts his discovery of the meaning of vocation, work, and purpose through the ups and downs inherent in family life, professional choice, and spiritual experience.

This book is perfect for anyone beginning a new career or sensing a needed change in their life or wrestling with a transition suddenly thrust upon them. Robert Benson delivers wisdom, humor, and heart in what he’s learned about listening for The Echo Within—and how it can help us discover our calling.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger & Day with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory

My Book Shelf – Every now and then I like to share with you what I’m reading. My hope is that it will be a blessing and help to you as well.

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger & Day with a Perfect Stranger
by David Gregory

One of the keys to the success of the Christian life and of the Church is the balance of evangelism and discipleship. Unfortunately, many times these important aspects are seen as mutually exclusive. However, there are a couple of books that I want to share with you that are tremendous tools for both evangelism and discipleship.

Written in the form of novels, Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and Day with a Perfect Stranger present the opportunity to listen in on an intriguing, humorous, informative, and moving discussions between Jesus and the average people that cover Christianity, family relationships, creation, work, other religions, human suffering, an much more about life. These books teach us the truth of Christ and also act as an apologetic to the unbeliever making it a great witnessing tool. These books are so good I make them required reading for my Life of Christ class at the college. If you want to develop your faith and be able to answer the questions people are asking, check these books out. You won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
Deut 7:9 (NIV)

God always keeps His promises. What a wonderful truth we can celebrate as His children. But what I’m noticing as I study the promises of God is how many of His promises come with conditions. The word “if” occurs over 300 times in the Bible. God says if we obey Him, He will reward us. Here are some of God’s promises that come with conditions.

1. Wisdom. "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5)

2. Health. "If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you." (Ex 15:26)

3. Love. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love. . ." (Jn 15:10a)

4. Strength. "If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace."(Ex 18:23)

5. Prosperity. "If you are willing and obedient . . . You shall eat the good of the land" (Isa 1:19)

Let’s obey God and then watch His promises fulfilled in our lives.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Healing Scriptures

During the past several of weeks of sickness in our home the Lord reminded me how important prayer and the Word is in our recovery and healing. The following are some Scriptures to increase your faith as you pray for healing.

…for I am the Lord who heals you. Ex 15:26 (NLT)

So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. Ex 23:25 (NKJV)

O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. Psalms 30:2 (NIV)

Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. Psalms 103:2-3 (NLT)

He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Psalms 107:20 (NKJV)

A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. Prov 17:22 (MSG)

…by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)

And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:38 (NLT)

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Romans 8:11 (NLT)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven... a time to be silent and a time to speak.
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 (NIV)
Be silent before the Sovereign LORD, for the day of the LORD is near.
Zephaniah 1:7 (NIV)
But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.
Habakkuk 2:20 (NIV)
Last week I was suffering from laryngitis. I had completely lost my voice. The doctor said the only way to get it back was to completely stop talking for an extended period of time. The problem is I like to talk. You might say (judging by the length of my sermons) I like to talk too much.

But there I was, silent for a week. Needless to say the boys loved it. I couldn’t yell if they did something wrong. Leslie loved it. She got to talk and I had to listen with no interruptions. I think my family enjoyed my infirmity a little too much.

I began to wonder if God enjoyed my silence. Silence, after all, is a spiritual discipline. I wonder if sometimes my words get so noisy that I miss God’s still, small voice?

We live in a noisy world. There will be times when it is necessary to turn off the radio, TV, computer, iPod, Blackberry, etc. in order to connect with God. There will be times we need to disconnect from everything and everyone demanding our attention. What would a little silence do for your relationship with Christ?

This week stop talking for awhile, turn off the noise, and set aside time to meditate on the verse… Be still, and know that I am God... Psalms 46:10 (NIV)