Monday, November 30, 2009

Big Boys

Last night as I was putting my twins to bed (Drew and Ty - just over 3 years old) I had them kneel down beside their new "big boy" beds to pray. We've never done that before. I usually just lay with them in their beds, say a quick prayer for them, and that's it. But for whatever reason, decided to switch things up last night. It was crazy! By that I mean - they did it - and did it so well! They knelt there, folded their hands, and repeated line after line that I prayed - probably for about 2 minutes or so. I was absolutely blown away.

Made me realize something important that relates to all of us. We need to be pushed spiritually. If we just settle for the same old stuff - we will never grow. When I pushed my boys to grow spiritually - they did - even at 3 years old.

I'm 37. I've gotten comfortable with my spirituality. Have you? Let's push each other to grow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Wow. Forgot how much I need "sabbath" - the Biblical concept of "rest" (instituted by God Himself in Genesis). Been in Pennsylvania visiting family for a few days. Staying through Thanksgiving. Been a great time to relax. Refocus. Find my center in God again. Makes me realize that I need this more in my life daily. No matter "where" I am. Need to take the time to "be still" / Sabbath.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Don't come to church this Sunday

I'm feeling like I need to tell folks not to come to church this Sunday .... unless they want to be confronted with the truth and the need to change. We're doing a "Thanksgiving" theme ... but we're talking about American consumerism as it compares with world hunger, poverty, etc. Just one of the stats I'll be sharing is that a child dies every 6 seconds from hunger in our world. During the course of my sermon/message Sunday - about 350 children will die around the world. Because of lack of food. I wept as I wrote that statistic into my message this week as I sat at a local coffeeship drinking my more than $2 cup of coffee (by the way - half the world's population lives on $2 per day). I wept because I AM NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT. BECAUSE IT IS NOT AN EMERGENCY TO ME. How can children dying not be an emergency to me? It would be if it was my child. I would never allow it to happen to my child. But as followers of Jesus Christ and His Way, we are called to view all children as His children. Our children. The reason children are dying is because we are not responding to the way and the call of Jesus. It doesn't matter enough to us. I must change. God help me to change.

So I hope and pray no one shows up Sunday. Because if they do, they will never ever be the same again. They won't be able to be.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Just ran into a guy outside our church facility with a backpack shouting out something as he walked by - something like - "down with the new world order." I was inquisitive, so I walked over to him and asked - "what are you saying?" He said it again and then proceeded to talk about "the new world order," another group called "the illuminati," and a couple other groups I can't recall. He talked about how they are trying to take over the world, etc. I asked him - "Brother, what do you believe?" He told me he believed "in Jesus, the Christ." I said - "well so do I." I asked him why he didn't just talk about Jesus and His love if he's going to walk around shouting stuff, and he told me that Jesus is going to come back to this earth "angry" and full of "judgment" for these groups. I challenged him, asking if that is really what he believes the central message of Jesus was - judgment for a few select groups of people. He said "yes." I told Him I believe Jesus' central message was of the Kingdom and of love. I challenged him again saying that his speaking just didn't seem to be relevant, and because of that, people wouldn't listen. He then murmured a few things and turned and walked away. Interesting conversation.

It makes me realize that each of us is a "picture" of Jesus Christ to the world. What we say and how we say it reflects Jesus Christ, if we are claiming to follow Him. Man, we need to be responsible with this message and really be sure we are reflecting Him. Running into that guy today was a good thing for me. I'm challenged to look at my own life and ask myself - "What am I saying about Jesus with my life?"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Daddy Daughter Dates Update

One of the coolest things I started doing as a dad over a year ago is taking my oldest daughter, Morgan, out for a "date" every Friday. Actually, it's a very intentional discipleship time where we talk about God, life, etc. Got the idea from a guy named Mark Batterson, pastor of NCC in DC. He had blogged about doing something like this with his son. I started this when Morgan was 9 --- now she is 10. I'm planning on doing this with each of my children when they turn 8 (I have 4 kids --- going to be busy!). Not sure at what age it may end. Just want it to be natural. Over the past year Morgan has read a couple books of the Bible, as well as several other books, she's learned more about praying, and serving, and even learned some pretty deep Biblical concepts/words. I believe that it is my job (along with my wife) to invest in my children and share with them God's truth, etc. It an awesome responsibility.

Wanted to share the "system" Morgan and I have developed over the past year. We spend the same time every Friday out at a local cafe or restaurant where she gets a "treat." Her favorite place is Starbuck's (some of you are like "sure" - you think I brainwashed her - but I'm serious - not that I complain when she chooses it!). We spend about 30-45 minutes together. The first 10 minutes or so is just talking about life, etc. Then we get into her Bible reading assignment. I have her read 2 chapters of the Bible a week. She handles it just fine. Right now she is reading the Gospel of Matthew and Psalms. She did all of Genesis already, along with a couple shorter books. I have her underline stuff in her Bible (I let her pick out any Bible she wanted when we started all this) that she thinks is cool or makes her go "wow." I have her put question marks by stuff she doesn't understand. Lots of question marks at her age - but makes for great conversation. After the Bible section, we talk about a second book she is reading. I have her read another book along with the Bible - one chapter a week. She's read several this year - 2 CS Lewis Narnia books, a kid's version of "Pilgrim's Progess," a book about Corrie Ten Boom, one about Esther, and several others. We talk about that for a bit. Then we make go over the prayer list she made out the week prior. We talk about the prayers God may have answered, or didn't, or if we aren't sure if He did. Then we make a new prayer list for the coming week. Anything she wants to pray for. After that - we discuss what we call her "Serve Challenge" - every week she decides something she will do for someone else. Could be someone in our family, a friend, anyone. She has to accomplish that thing during the week. We talk about how that went, then think up a new creative thing to do for someone the next week. Just recently we've also added either scripture memorization (key Bible verses about God's love, her identity - girls can struggle with that, etc) or we have a Biblical word/concept she learns about. For instance - right now she's learning about the word "Trinity" and how that relates to the Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Sounds like alot, but she has pretty easily worked this into her life and has become much more disciplined. Two things I'm praying come of all this ---- 1)She falls in love with God her Father and learns the discipline of spending time with Him that will last a lifetime, and 2) She knows her earthly daddy loves her and spent time with her consistently. She definitely won't remember everything we talked about. That's not the point. But to know she is loved by God and by me is something I'm praying desperately for.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How do we measure effectiveness in the Church?

I admit it. I struggle with numbers in the Church. A crammed house on Sunday mornings and I feel great. A less than full worship attendance on a Sunday and I leave feeling like I'm less than God has called me to be. WHY? Because we've been taught and conditioned by THE CHURCH to measure effectiveness almost completely in terms of numbers. Oh we talk a good talk (I include myself in this) about the true measure of effectiveness being about way more than numbers - with things like actual changed lives, people serving, people becoming "missionaries" to the communities we live in, etc.... but the reality is this is far less true than we make it out to be. If we're honest, we'll have to admit it's mostly about numbers. Leave the changed lives and other stuff for other churches.

But I can't help but think about Jesus in the Gospels. Here's a church planter who couldn't rally but about 12 close disciples, and maybe a hundred or so beyond that --- in THREE YEARS! Didn't Jesus read our books? Doesn't He know what an effective church looks like? Doesn't He know it's all about Sunday morning worship attendance?

Wow. I long for the Jesus-experience. Where the focus is God's will for changed lives and the building of relationships that eventually truly change the world.

Some will argue (I've done it) that numbers are important because they demonstrate people "attracted" to the Gospel, etc. I believe that. I think numbers do demonstrate health. But my point is that THIS is all we really focus on.

Really think it's time we re-evaluate what EFFECTIVENESS really means in the Church today.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Upcoming Series

Starting a new series tomorrow at The Quest Church. Talking about how men and women are created differently by God ... on purpose. Going to be a great series. Looking at what God's purposes are for the sexes - as it relates to simply living in the world, being a husband/wife, father/mother, etc.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Missio Dei

"Missio Dei" is a Christian/Latin term meaning "the sending of God" or "the mission of God" (I like "sending" better). Preaching on that this Sunday at QC (Quest Church). The term was coined by Karl Hartenstein in response to Karl Barth and his emphasis on "actio dei" ("the action of God") --- all of this according to

In 21st century American church culture, we tend to speak of "mission" as something we "do" (example - we have "Missions Committees" or we go on "Missions trips", etc.). However, the Biblical concept of church and mission has much more to do with WHO WE "ARE" ... not in what we "DO." The term "missio dei" places emphasis on the reality that mission is born out of the very nature of God. It is WHO HE IS. And because of WHO HE IS, God acts be "sending" (Missio). Think about it - God SENT His Son ("missio dei"). And now because of this, Jesus invites the Church to participate in the "missio dei" --- we are invited to become part of the mission of God in the world we live in. In this sense, Church IS a mission. We don't DO missions. We are participating in the very nature of God in the world. We are the hands and feet of Jesus to the world.

This is revolutionary for the modern American church. But if we are to become the Church we are called to be ... we must seek what God would make us... and not what we want to simply become on our own. I pray that we would be SENT to participate in the "missio dei" in the communities we live in!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Michael Jackson

The Michael Jackson phenomenon has been very interesting to me. So much is being made of his life, his music, his impact on culture. I even heard one person - an official spokesperson for him - say that his was a life of "love" more than any other life there ever was. Interesting.

From the outside I see his life as very sad, really. He was a young boy who seems like he was forced to grow up so fast (being thrust into the entertainment world at such a young age). But when he became an adult, he seemed so childish. Almost a reversal of how life is supposed to be lived. I have to imagine that much of this was a "retreat" into himself because he was unable to relate to the world in a mature way. His childish act was just a way to cope.

We are an interesting culture. Why do we get so obsessed with this kind of stuff?

I'm just wondering....

Monday, June 1, 2009

The freedom to ask questions

New series begins at our church community this Sunday, June 7. Polled our church to discover what questions they have related to God, faith, life, etc. Here are the top 5 themes:

1 - Why ... SIN? (Why can't I stop, etc.)

2 - Why ... SUFFERING? (more specifically "Why do some suffer more than others?")

3 - Why ... PRAYER? (How does it work? Does God hear me, etc.)



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jon and Kate Thoughts

My wife and I have twins. So one of the TV shows that has been interesting to us is "Jon and Kate Plus 8" on TLC. At first I was hesitant to comment on this family's situation because I think they need their privacy, etc. However, at the same time, they have opened their lives to our culture by having a television show chronicling their family's life together. I believe their current situation (marital struggles) deserves voice - especially since they are Christians.

First - I exhort Christians to pray for them if we are going to do anything. Not to destroy them with our words, gossip, etc. The Body of Christ is called to love and work for reconciliation of relationships. Pray for God's healing in their relationship and marriage and family.

Second - Learn from this family. One of the things they have said publicly is that they place their children first. While this is admirable, I don't believe it is biblical. In Genesis we learn that the marital relationship is the most important human relationship we have. Many people will debate this point - I pray we do it in love - about whether or not the marriage comes first or the children come first. But I believe that God has designed the world in such a way that in a family - the marriage relationship must come first. A child's greatest need is to know that mommy and daddy love each other. They need to see it. To say that we can separate or divorce and not affect our children is not possible. My pray for Jon and Kate is that they place their marriage first. Their children want and need this. If we truly desire God's best for our children, we should always work to reconcile our marriages.

Third - I'm a man. I approach life and marriage as a man. Biblically and experientially, I have learned that it is my responsibility to "own" my stuff and my shortcomings, and to work to be a better man/husband and to fulfill my wife - in other words ... make her happy and secure. Now I realize that she has responsibility to receive this ... but I have the responsibility to give it. I believe so many men in our culture do not own our problems in our marriages AND we don't take it as our responsibility to fulfill our wives. We blame them. So my final thought is that we as men need to do everything we can to love our wives and fulfill them. How far does that go? Biblically it says we are called to "love our wives as Jesus Christ loves the church." We'll quote this verse, but will we live it out? I'm not trying to be all "pie in the sky" here. I know life can be bad, real bad. Marriage can be tough, real tough. But that doesn't negate God's call on husbands to love our wives as Christ loves.


I pray my words aren't seen as criticism or gossip. They are not meant to be. I hurt for this couple and for all couples struggling in their marriages. Let's be the Body of Christ and lift them up and encourage them and even hold each other accountable to Christ's call to love sacrificially.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How we THINK

New series at our church this Sunday - about the MIND and how we THINK. Don't think (no pun intended) I've ever done a series like this. Should be challenging.

As I've been studying I've been looking at OT Jewish thoughts on the "mind" and also how the Greco-Roman world perceived the "mind." Interesting stuff. Won't go into it in detail here, but Biblical teaching infers that Jesus-followers are given a new mind/way of thinking - but that it is something we must submit to. What I mean is that it doesn't just "happen" to us. We must participate in the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2).

I think this is one of the most difficult things for us as Christians. Actually BELIEVING in our minds/thinking that we are changed/new. Our hearts like the idea, but our minds battle against it. Like a tug-of-war in our heads.

Looking forward to teaching on this. Good stuff we all need to hear and apply.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"WHY?" series

Starting a new series in a few weeks @ Quest. Wanting to know what questions people in our church community have. So we're asking them to finish this question: "Why ______________?" If you have a "why" question, and would like to submit it, feel free to leave a comment with your question!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The best thing

There's so much I love about being a part of my church community, but nothing beats watching people's lives forever changed. 2 Sundays ago at our late worship gathering, 7 people came forward to be baptized for the very first time. Totally spontaneous. Wasn't planned. 6 others reaffirmed their faith and made a recommitment to follow Jesus. The last person baptized was a little girl named "Hope." Beautiful day.

I'm back!

Took about a 3 month sabbatical from blogging here.... but I'm back!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Discipling Morgan

Just passed the one year anniversary of Friday Discipleship Times with my oldest daughter, Morgan (I call these "Father Daughter Times"). What a great year. We've missed a few Fridays due to school stuff, vacations, etc.... but we've met about 40 times over the last year. Morgan has read the entire Gospel of John, part of Genesis, and now we're finishing Genesis and getting into the Psalms as well. She's also read "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," "Prince Caspian," a biography of "Corrie Ten Boom," and now we've started a kid-version of "Pilgrim's Progress." In addition she has memorized scripture, created dozens of prayer lists for weekly prayer, and served many people with a "serve challenge" we do each week. But the greatest part for me is just being with my daughter and watching God move and work in her life.

I encourage all parents to disciple your children. I'm committing to do this with each of my kids - and having these one-on-one discipleship times when they turn 8. With four kids - that will be alot of time and energy - but so worth it!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Disappearing Generations

I'm becoming more and more convinced that the Church as a whole is increasingly blind to the reality that younger generations are largely "missing" from our local church communities. Certainly there are some pockets where this is not the case, but by and large the statistics demonstrate this reality. Much of the problem, in my opinion, lies in the fact that we are unwilling to do what it takes to connect with emerging generations. We want them to CONNECT WITH US ... but we are not making the effort to CONNECT WITH THEM. As a young pastor, I challenge my generation as well as older generations to wake up to the need around us. And I challenge us to pick up the missional mandate from Jesus to connect with these generations. We must be willing to change and to do whatever it takes to CONNECT WITH THEM. And we must seriously ask ourselves if we care enough to do something ...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Denominational Paralysis

Becoming more and more convinced that the Church suffers from denominational paralysis. In our efforts to maintain and grow the institution of the Church, we've largely lost the single focus of remaining Kingdom-driven for the purposes God calls us to in our world. Simply put - I feel like we're asleep. But while I believe this to be true, I don't believe simply complaining about it is the answer. I pray that God keeps me and so many others from this. Instead, we must seek God and the Kingdom together and pray that He will move the body as a whole to return to Him, and once again pick up His Kingdom-agenda for our lives.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Can we be Christian without being like Christ?

In my reading this morning was challenged with a thought - the author mentioned that for many Christians today being like Jesus/following Him is not required to be "Christian." Instead we can say we "believe" in Jesus, making that an intellectual assent to a set of core beliefs "about" Jesus, but leaving the actual following/behavior part behind. The author referenced this to the way Jesus hung out with the poor and marginalized of society. 8 of 10 Christians believe Jesus did this (the other 2 must not be reading the Gospels ...), but only 2% of this 80% say they do the same thing.

Can we be Christian with being like Jesus?

(I'm not pointing fingers here ... I'm concerned with my own life of discipleship!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Personal Jesus

Remember the song "Personal Jesus" (Depeche Mode, also Johnny Cash's rendition)? Lyrics have been rumbling through my head as I think about my message this Sunday during a series my church is in called "American Jesus." Series is exploring the cultural version of Jesus in America with the Biblical version. Similarities, differences, etc.

Anyway, it's interest that one of the key phrases of the Church has been "a personal relationship with Jesus." Yet - this phrase is not found in the Bible. Now I believe in the concept of a relationship with God (creation/Creator), but there is a huge danger in our culturally formed idea of a "personal Jesus." For one, He becomes anything I want Him to be. We each have our own Jesus, and my version is valid, your version is valid, etc. Another danger that is rampant, in my opinion, is that we abandon the Gospel message of COMMUNITY. We say things like "I have a relationship with Jesus, I don't need the Church community." But this kind of thinking is anti-Gospel. In fact, the entire message of the Bible is COMMUNAL in focus. This is radical for our time. Because if we take it to the extreme (which I believe we should) it means that MY LIFE impacts YOUR LIFE and vice-versa. Because we are a BODY, as the Bible suggests. Jesus speaks communally about the Church, Paul does, as well as the other NT writers.

Something to think deeply about ...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


We live in a such a "connected" world these days. Yesterday as I was picking my kids up from school was listening to a podcast from a author/culturalist I really vibe with. So weird how I've only met him a couple times, read several of his books, etc...but through a podcast I feel connected to him in some way. Like we're "friends." Am I fooling myself? Are we really "connected"? What does it really mean to be connected today?

Just a few rambling thoughts in the middle of my day ...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Kingdom Theology

Been camping out in "Kingdom" theology as I'm preparing for an upcoming message this weekend at my church community. Talking about the "now" and "not yet" of the Kingdom and how the American church seems to focus most heavily on the "not yet" (future reality of "heaven") ... missing out on the realization of the Kingdom in the now/every day. But the thing that has grabbed me this week - more than anything else - is that THE CENTRAL MESSAGE OF JESUS' PREACHING AND TEACHING IN THE GOSPELS IS "THE KINGDOM OF GOD." Man - I've missed this. The Church has missed this. How often do we hear the Kingdom preached and taught? How often do I teach and preach it directly?

Heavy week ...

Thursday, January 8, 2009


A friend introduced me to "twitter" the other day. So now I'm twittering (the verb form of twitter, of course). Go to to find out more. My twitter name is JohnKenneyQuest (all run spaces). Twitter is a micro-blogging site ... pretty cool.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jesus is my ticket to heaven

Started a new series at our church called "American Jesus." Talking about the cultural version of Jesus that exists (there are many more than one version, but we're exploring some of the basic characteristics of American Christianity).

This Sunday we're talking about the concept of a "Jesus" who gives us heaven through a prayer and one-time decision. Although I believe a decision must be made to follow Christ, and that this does happen in a moment in time, the Gospels demonstrate a Kingdom-theology that goes far beyond an easy prayer and a future reality (heaven). Jesus demonstrates a radical call to a PRESENT recognition of the Kingdom demonstrated through the LIVING OUT of our "belief" in Jesus. So there exists a tension between the "now" and "not yet" of the Kingdom. We tend to focus on the "not yet" of the Kingdom. While heaven does exists and I hope to be there someday, Jesus calls me to Kingdom-life NOW. And the Kingdom is demonstrated in living out the mission of Jesus. Love, peace, justice, etc.

The Church needs to move from a static view of salvation and the Kingdom to a process view. Where the Kingdom is worked out in every day life.