Sunday, December 16, 2007

TV Preachers

Before I tell this story, let me say I think there are some GREAT TV preachers. I watch a few an am challenged in my faith journey. They hope me grow spiritually. I also watch several on the internet. But the other day I was flipping through some channels on TV and came across a religious station and particular preacher was preaching. My 5 year old was sitting with me on the couch. She asked, "Daddy, why is that preacher so mad?" I asked what she meant. She responded, "He's yelling at everyone." I quickly flipped to another channnel.

But it got me thinking. My daughter is 5. Her faith is being formed right now. Her image of God is being formed. And she's probably thinking - "God is mean. He's mad at me." Why do I make this jump - from the preacher to God? Because it's true. Kids images of God are formed by their parents and other adults.

I don't know what the guy was preaching about. Maybe there is even a time to express God in this manner - although I struggle with that. But wow. It makes you realize that the way we represent God to all people - especially the next generation - is an awesome responsibility. One we should not take lightly. One we should really consider.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Gotta admit - death gives perspective to life. Last week a long-time friend and member of our church community went home to be with the Lord. Being a part of his life, even his death, has given me renewed perspective. I worry about little stuff. I get bent out of shape over little things. It's not worth it. It's really not. We spend so much time in the minutia of life that we sometimes miss life itself. My real fear is that this renewed perspective will simply fade as the days go by and the little stuff becomes the "big" stuff again. Man, I hope that doesn't happen.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas series

Can't believe Advent starts this coming Sunday (Dec. 2). Our church starts a new series in worship this Sunday for the Christmas season. Wanted to do something a little different this year. Sometimes as a pastor I feel I get stuck in a rut doing the same thing every year during Christmas. So our creative/design team worked hard to come up with a series we're calling "BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE ... the story of Christmas." Basically we're telling the Christmas story by talking about how sin has made our world ugly and how Jesus Christ came as flesh to make the world beautiful again (a return to Eden, if you will). We'll also be discussing how we should see the beautiful potential in all people - through Jesus Christ.

Looking forward to this Christmas season.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Our home/sponsoring church (Aldersgate UMC) hosted a worship gathering where we celebrated Quest's birth as a new church. At the end of the gathering the first Methodist Church in Augusta (1700's) gave Quest a HUGE Bible that can be displayed at our church home. As I walked up to receive it and was charged to "pass on the news of Jesus" I was overwhelmed at how the LEGACY of Jesus is passed from one person to the next, one generation to the next. Now that Quest has received this legacy, we must pass it on as well.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Starting a new series in November at my church. It's been a tough one to think through. We're calling it "beyond" and exploring how Jesus calls His followers "beyond" the place we are now/today. And that's uncomfortable. We like where we are. We don't want to move or change or get uncomfortable. Will be focusing mostly on how the place God wants to move us to is a place of service. Humility. Washing the feet of the world. For most of us - true service is way "beyond" where we are. We're willing to call ourselves Christians, and even do a little bit for God - but only as long as it is "comfortable" for us. This series will definitely be a challenge - for me personally, and for our church community as we explore what living like Jesus really means.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Studying for our new series (worship [re]defined) coming up at Quest Church is wearing me out. The reason is I'm realizing I have a warped view of what "worship" really is. I think most of us probably do. Let's be honest - for most of us - worship is an "event" we go to. We go to a "worship service" or "worship gathering" (as we call it at our church). But is that what it is? Because when it's that, we tend to focus on the "externals" of it - the setting, the music (loud or soft, organ or guitars, hymns or contemporary praise stuff, good preaching or bad, etc.). I've been checking out the Bible this week as it pertains to worship - and do you know that there is NO PRESCRIBED WAY of doing the "external" stuff I just mentioned? None that I can find. All you'll find is the word "worship" being used to convey the idea that WE as humans are to ASCRIBE WORTH ("worship" comes from the old English "worth -ship") to GOD. It's about having an OBJECT of our affections - God. This means worship is not really an event - it's an attitude of the heart. It's love for God. It's surrender to Him.

Thank God He gets ahold of me sometimes and rocks my world. It's what I need.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What is worship?

Got a new series/theme coming up at our church. The focus will be on "worship." We realize that all of us have our ideas about what this is - so we're calling it "worship [re]defined." Because we believe that worship/faith should never be static. It should always be moving, changing, evolving. This isn't to say that there aren't foundational/absolute truths about these issues - it's just that sometimes we make what is secondary foundational and primary. When it comes to worship, we can really get bent out of shape. I've seen it happen. And we tend to get bent out of shape on secondary/non-primary issues related to it. In this series we're going to try to keep it focused on what's primary/most important as it relates to worship. It's going to be a great journey as we explore God and what it means to worship Him! Can't wait!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The world's a changin'

I continue to be amazed at how our world is changing. Having kids today makes you realize just how much things have changed - especially in the realm of technology/culture. Here are a couple examples. I have a 7 year old. She thinks a "mouse" is a computer apparatus. And just the other day, she wanted to set up her own "blog." So now she 'journals' online on her own. And it's for all the world to see. She's 7!

Like I said - the world is changing!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Coffeeshop blues

The coffeeshop I have hung out at for over 2 years closed last month. That's tough. Not because of the coffeeshop itself - but because of the atmosphere, relationships, etc. I mourned a couple weeks and then decided it was time to find some new friends/a new shop. Love meeting new people and being in a new environment.

Reminds me of how we can get pretty comfortable as Jesus-followers - with our faith, church, etc. Sometimes we have to venture out, shake things up, do something different. Ritual and all that is great to a point - but it needs to be balanced with stepping out, too.

Just some thoughts ...

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Starting a new series at our church this week. The main text for this series is the beginning of John 15 where Jesus basically says "I am the true vine ... you are the branches ... remain in me and you'll produce fruit ... apart from me you can do nothing." Gotta admit - I've heard it dozens, if not hundreds, of times before. But for some reason this time it is grabbing me and not letting me go. It's getting inside of me in a way it hasn't before. And I think the reason is that if I'm honest with myself - I feel pretty disconnected from Jesus Christ. To "remain" in the Greek means to "live" or "dwell." I think I live/dwell in myself most of the time - not in Jesus Christ. I'm not trying to be hard on myself (I've been accused of that) - it's the truth. Learning to "remain" in Jesus is not easy. It's just not. I think the "Church" has made it too easy. We've made it about coming to church an hour a week, doing a little for God, etc. Jesus made it about a relationship with Him that changes your core/soul in such a way that you die to you and live for Him, and in doing so produce fruit that impacts the world. I'm rambling - but just some thoughts I'm having ...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Family "Vision" Statement

Thought I'd post some preliminary thoughts on a vision statement my wife and I are creating for our family. A vision statement suggests a "destination" you are aiming to go. We are also developing goals and an action plan to get there. But so far, this is where we're at:

Kenney Family Vision

"Because of God's great love for us in Jesus Christ- we will demonstrate a great love for God, for each other within our family, and for the world around us."

It's basic - which I think vision statements should be. It starts with God's love for us, which requires a response. We want our children to understand and experience the love of God FIRST, then allow that to help them RESPOND to Him, our family, an dthe world they live in with LOVE as well.

For each of our kids, this will look somewhat different - because our kids are unique and different. We're currently looking at ways to make this more specific and practical for each child.

This statement is really giving my wife and I more direction and intentionality in the way we live as a family, raise our children, etc.

Monday, September 3, 2007

I'm back, mon!

Just got back from Jamaica Saturday night/Sunday morning. My wife, Shauna, and I spent about 5 days in Negril at a beautiful resort there. We had decided just before our twins were born that when they turned a year old - we would take vacation - just me and her. Well our twins turned one just a few weeks ago - and we made good on what we said we would do!

I learned something about myself in Jamaica. When we first got there - I had the hardest time relaxing! I just couldn't do it. I felt like I should be working, producing, etc. But there was nothing I could really do. My cell phone didn't work there and I left my laptop at home (intentionally!) - so there was no checking email, etc. After about a day, though, I began to relax. Then by about the third day - I was relaxing pretty well! Then, on the last 24 hours there - I began stressing more. Even though I had a day lef
t to relax in such an amazing place - I just couldn't do it. Knowing that I was headed home soon, I began thinking of everything that awaited me.

So I have a tough time relaxing/taking a break. But I've decided to try to import that lesson to my daily life. If I have to go to Jamaica to relax - I'm going to go broke! I have to learn to work it into every day life somehow - even in the midst of the busyness and craziness of it all.

Getting ready to start a new series at our church that

talks about how to exist in a crazy/busy world. Looking forward
to studying and learning more in John 15 and how remaining
connected to Jesus (the "vine") is the key to living in our world.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


The concept of "sabbath" is all over the Bible. It begins with God taking "sabbath" on the 7th day of creation and goes all the way to Jesus teaching about it in the New Testament. Sabbath is basically "rest." But not just rest for no reason. Rest "on purpose." Intentional rest for the purpose of renewal, rejuvanation, etc. Here's a confession - I stink at sabbath. I've learned that about myself over the years. So I've really begun to work on it. Isn't that funny? I'm WORKING on RESTING. Seems kind of backwards/ironic. But if you're like me you have to work on things like sabbath. I'm trying to have a small bit of sabbath every day now. And I'm also trying to take bigger chunks of it at times. In a couple weeks my wife and I are headed out of town for 5 days - no kids, just me and her - for the sole purpose of sabbath. When I get back I know that I'll be ready to go at it again - with the church, kids, and life in general!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tattoos - signs of change

Check out this manequin at a local department store - with a tattoo on his left arm. Tattoos are becoming more "accepted" in our culture today, and that is reflected even in some of our large department stores. I like it. They are stretching ... taking risks. Thoughts?

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Vision is an amazing thing. I'm realizing more and more that without vision and dreams that lead to real goals - nothing much gets accomplished in life. This is true personally, in marriage and family, in business, in the Church, etc. People with vision are proactive and set goals and seek to attain them. Those without vision seem to wander aimlessly, just kind of reacting to life. Lately I've been creating vision and goals for my family life - with my wife and kids. My wife and I are creating a "vision statement" for our family right now. I'll post it when it's done. Just some random thoughts ....

Remembering ...

Was looking back at some old pictures today of when The Quest Church actually began. Here's one of our community just beginning to form in our very first year. We were meeting in small groups and then gathering once a month at a local restaurant (after hours) for worship and community building. There are a dozen and a half people in this gathering I think. Sometimes I struggle with where I am RIGHT NOW. But when I LOOK BACK it reminds me that God has been faithful and has been with me every step of the way. Remembering how God has grown The Quest community into what it is today is incredible. It shows me how small I am and how big God is.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Excited about a new series we've got coming up soon at QC. It's called "Bloom" and we'll be looking at how God plants us in certain places at certain times so that we can be used by Him. It makes me think of people in the Bible like Moses and others, who felt so inadequate to be used by God, but once they just accepted that God could and would use them - they bloomed where God planted them.

We've been in a Proverbs series this summer - that has been great - but sometimes a series can get long and even I'm ready to move on! Can't wait for "Bloom" to start ...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Reds Game

Went to a Cincinnati Reds game during a family reunion this weekend. Haven't been to a pro sports game in awhile - forgot how much fun these can be!

A couple things about the game that made me think about my spiritual life:

1) There were only a handful of people actually "playing the game." There were thousands of us watching other people play. Made me realize that as followers of Christ, we're called to do both, really. Sometimes we play - and sometimes we cheer on others who are playing. Both roles are important if you think about it.

2) The Reds were playing San Francisco - the team Barry Bonds plays for. At the game I was at, he was just 4 homeruns away from breaking the all-time homerun record set by Hank Aaron. This is a big deal. But here's the thing - every time he stepped up to the plate to bat - he was "boo-ed" in a big way. No clapping. No cheering. Just boo-s. I asked my dad what was up (I'm not a big sports follower) and he told me about his alleged use of steroids. People were yelling things like "Juice-man" and "Cheater," etc. It made me think - that's pretty much how real life is. You make a mistake and it follows you like that. It also made me think about how being a Christian, though, is often counter-cultural. By that I mean that we're called to forgive each others' offenses/wrongs.

Never knew baseball could be such a spiritual experience.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


We've been in a series at our church this summer - exploring the ancient book of Proverbs. There are so many amazing and practical themes in this book. This past week we talked about what Proverbs says about money and resources. The word that came to the surface as I studied this theme in Proverbs was the word "discipline." Proverbs teaches that it takes discipline to handle money wisely, etc. I've been thinking alot more about discipline the past couple of days - and realizing that discipline relates to every area of life. Think about it - anything you want to do, and want to do well at - takes discipline. Whether it's being a friend to someone, a good spouse, a great father or mother, playing a sport or instrument, getting in shape, learning to cook, whatever. And I've been thinking about how this is so true of our spirituality and walk with God as well. It takes discipline. The root of "discipline" has the word "disciple" in it. Perhaps discipline and discipleship are related - I think they are/must be. Maybe that's why being a follower of Christ is so hard. Because it takes discipline - getting up every single day and committing to this life again. And again. And again. Just stuff I've been thinking about ...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Books I'm Reading

Recently, I decided I needed to read more. Reading energizes me. So I just thought I'd mention a couple books I'm currently reading:

Revolutionary Parenting by George Barna. Incredible book so far. Very challenging and potentially life-altering for parents (and kids - b/c if parents change the way they parent - kids change!). Main thing I'm learning is that it takes a lot more than most parents (including me) realize to pass on their faith to their children. Status quo "religous parenting" is just not enough. It takes "revolutionary parents" to raise children who love God and make an impact for Him in the world.

They Like Jesus but Not the Church by Dan Kimball. I've read several books by Dan before (he's the pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA - and this one is as good as the others. If you really want to break outside the "church bubble" and see the world from the perspective of someone outside the church - read this book. I'm only about a quarter of the way into it, but I've been challenged once again.

Got a couple other books I'd like to start soon, too. Just need to get through these first!

Monday, June 18, 2007


This is my 4 year old daughter - Julia (we call her Jules). Just thought she looked cool/hip in these sunglasses. She was sporting them at my ordination worship service last week!


Last Monday was a big day for me. I was ordained an "elder" in The United Methodist Church (UMC). Basically, this means that after completing seminary and then a 3 year process of examination, The UMC affirms my call to be in mission and ministry as a pastor. In many ways this process has felt like jumping through "hoops" ... if you've ever had to do anything like that. But I was surprised at how meaningful the day ended up feeling to me. It was pretty overwhelming, to be honest. It made me think that this might be how it feels for a marathon runner - you know - running and running and running - never feeling like the finish line will arrive - but then it finally does. I've never run a marathon, but I think I kind of know what it must feel like.

Note: I don't usually wear a "robe" - but it was required for this day and so I did. Just wanted to let those of you know who don't usually see me dressed like this, what I was wearing! The robe has been around for a significant period of time and has certain meaning. However, I have chosen not to wear the robe in my ministry and context.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Celtic Christianity

Saint Patrick's Day is every March. But ask most folks about him, and you'll find that people connect him with Ireland, the shamrock, and the color green - but that's about it.

Awhile back I read a book that caused me to really appreciate Saint Patrick and his contribution to faith-sharing. Hundreds of years ago, a large percentage of Ireland became Christ-followers during the lifetime and ministry of Saint Patrick. I believe that a huge part of this can be attributed to his approach to people and faith-sharing with them.

In the book - The Celtic Way of Evangelism - author George Hunter describes how Saint Patrick's approach to faith and community (and specifically the process of sharing Jesus with others) was revolutionary for the time. It marked a changed from the older "Roman" model of evangelism/faith-sharing. The two models (Roman vs. Celtic/Saint Patrick) are:

- Presentation
- Decision
- Enter the fellowship

- Enter the fellowship
- Ministry and Conversations
- Belief, Invitation to Commitment

You'll notice that the processes are basically reversed. One model made "community" (fellowship) the final step of evangelism - following the linear pattern of someone presenting the Gospel, the hearer then making a decision, and finally entering community/fellowship.

Saint Patrick believed that the process should begin with inviting any and all people into community FIRST. He believed and demonstrated that this led to openness and conversations, and in many, many cases finally led to belief and a life lived for Christ.

I really believe that Saint Patrick was on to something ... and onto something biblical. One of my favorite sections of Scripture is Luke 15, which begins by saying that Jesus was hanging out with (ie, community and fellowship) people who were "outside" the Church community. Luke describes how the religious leaders of His day condemned Him for this. But Jesus didn't budge. He loved people. All people. Invited them into community and fellowship for the purpose of loving and serving them and showing them God.

Saint Patrick has been gone from this world a long time, but I believe we could learn alot from Him in the in the 21st century Church.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Remembering the Past

Last night I spoke at "Fountain" Campground near Camak and Washington, Georgia. It was founded in 1822 - almost 200 years ago. These are a couple pics of what they call the "tabernacle" (Old Testament idea of God dwelling in "tabernacle"). As I sat there before speaking, I was somewhat overcome with an awesome realization of history. What I mean is that for almost 200 years, people have been gathering in this same tabernacle and sitting on the same benches - singing, praying, and listening to people talk about God and life. It made me feel "small" - in a good sort of way - and that I ought to approach life a little more humbly, if you know what I mean. There have been other people who have come before me, and there will be plenty that come after me. I have an opportunity to live for a short time and be a part of history and what God is doing in the world. Pretty profound if you really think about it. I'm glad I had the opportunity to speak at the tabernacle last night.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

"COMPASS" video link

This Sunday we're beginning a new series on the ancient book of Proverbs at our church. We made a video to introduce this series. You can check it out on our YouTube site by clicking here.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Supra-cultural Christianity

On the way home from the gym last night I heard a preacher on the radio using a term I don't think I've heard before - "supra-cultural." He was talking about how there are biblical principles that are "supra-cultural" - and that these principles are the ones that are most important. By this he meant that these principles are not tied to a certain time and location in the Bible (occasional or situational principles) but transcend time and place. There are biblical principles that work in America in the year 2007, as well as in a remote African village 100 years ago, and so on.

I only had a 5 minute drive home, so I only heard a little bit from this preacher. But it got me thinking over the past day - that I like what this guy was saying. I like it because it really seems to make sense if you think about it. But if you go on thinking about it, you'll begin to realize that some of the things we make "biblical" aren't really biblical at all. For instance, today in the Church in America there's alot of talk (or arguing) over worship/worship style/etc. There's also much discussion over things like leadership and church structure, etc. And what happens is that we find a way we "like" it to work - and we make that "biblical" in a sense. I know I do. When in fact, it's more occasional or situational. It doesn't mean what I like isn't good, etc ... It's just that I need to be careful to say MY WAY is the right way/the biblical way. Because when I say that I'm saying your way is not.

"Supra-cultural" - probably not a word I'll add to my vocabulary. But a good word.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Proverbs Series Video

I've had several requests for a link to our "Proverbs ... real direction for real life" video that introduces our 2007 Summer Series at The Quest Church. Click here to view this video.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Extreme Room Makeover

This past weekend my kids were gone with grandparents and my wife and I "made over" our girls' room. I spent the day hanging shelves, putting down a new carpet, and even "stamping" (at least that's what my wife told me it is called) butterflies all over the walls. What suprised me about this whole experience was how excited I was for my little girls to come home and see their new room. I wanted to see and hear their reaction. In a strange, but real way ... it made me realize how much I love them. I didn't want a "thank you" or anything like that from them ... I just wanted them to enjoy their new room.

This has caused me to think about the reasons I "do things" for people. Is it because I really love them in this same way, or is it because I just want to be noticed, thanked, etc. Kind of sobering and humbling to think about really. Causes me to question my motives, etc. If I'm honest, I will have to admit that I often do things to be noticed and praised - not simply to demonstrate love.

It's funny how little things like an "extreme room makeover" can challenge you spiritually.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I noticed something about coffee this week. Not about the taste or anything like that ... but about the way it can be a cause for relationship-building and conversation. For example, this week I can think of five great conversations I had with people while drinking coffee. It may seem like a coincidence, but could there be more to it? In the ancient world (during Jesus' time) community and relationship-building almost always centered around the "table" - ie. meals, drink, etc. So maybe it's no coincidence that sitting at a table with a friend or friends drinking coffee (or anything else for that matter) builds community. Maybe that's why "coffeeshops" are doing so well. Maybe it's not just about the coffee, but about the community that exists there. It makes me think that coffeeshops may be doing a better job than churches at creating a sense of community. I don't know. Interesting to think about though ...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Been studying Jesus and prayer this week for a series called "VERTICAL" we're doing at our church, The Quest ( In my study I'm amazed at the number of times the Gospel writers talk about Jesus going off to be alone and "pray." I don't know how I missed it before, but it's everywhere! Here is God's Son making SPACE in His own busy and crazy life for time alone with His Father. I feel like my life is busy and crazy, too. I don't know a person who doesn't feel this way. The problem for me is - I don't create this SPACE in my life for the kind of time alone with God (prayer) that Jesus did. Yet I feel that I can somehow survive without it, I guess. I'll don't know what it's going to take for me to "get it." Even as I'm writing this blog, a book just popped in my mind that my wife gave me several years ago - called "Too Busy Not to Pray." Guess what? I haven't read it. Not a page. I guess I'm too busy. I've got to find that book.

I've got to be honest - sometimes I struggle with preaching. The reason - it's too convicting/challenging to my own life. But I guess that's the point. If it doesn't speak to me, it won't speak to anyone else. I'm really dealing with that this week - centering in this issue of prayer. It just won't let go of me.

"God help me create SPACE in my life for You. Amen."

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


I hate red lights ... unless I'm munching on a burger or something and I need a little extra time to get a bite down. Usually at a red light I'm sitting there saying "Come on, come on, let's GO!!!" You know the feeling, don't you? Just sitting there, waiting, dying for the red light to switch to green?!

We're a "go" kind of culture. Except for one place - the Church. Man, the church has become a "red-light" community. What I mean by that is we're all about just sitting around, waiting, feeding ourselves ... and that's about it. I know that sounds harsh, and I may be overemphasizing it, but I really believe that for the most part it's true. Just ask someone who isn't a part of the Church community what they think. Could be enlightening.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that the light is GREEN and God is calling the Church to GO. By that I mean we're supposed to have a passion and desire to get out into the real world where people live and breathe every day ... and in that world we're supposed to have a hunger to live out the radical message of God's love in such a way that people are drawn to it. I'll be the first to admit this isn't easy, and even though I'm "supposed" to want these things ... sometimes I don't. But even so, I just can't get away from this growing conviction and passion inside of me to do it. To get out. To Go. To live out the message of Christ ... not just inside the walls of a "church" building, but outside the walls.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this? Your experiences?