Friday, April 27, 2012

No More Secrets

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


"Since God has so generously let us in on what He is doing,
we're not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job
just because we run into occasional hard times.

We refuse to wear masks and play games.

We don't maneuver and manipulate
 behind the scenes.

We don't twist God's Word to suit ourselves.


We keep everything we do and say
out in the open,
the whole truth on display,
so that those who want to
can see
judge for themselves
in the presence of

2 Corinthians 4, The Message


    I've been taught to dump my garbage before someone digs it up.

    Starting with God in a 1 John 1:5ff. kinda way, I'm doing that more than less in these last...

    There's nothing more disarming to busybodies, gossipers, and other slanderers than to cough up the truth about ourselves before others twist it into falsehood or ammunition to...

    For example, everybody knows or, uh, anybody who grew up around the 60s knows President Clinton was lying about not inhaling weed.  That's why few conscious beings believed him when he said it didn't do nasty stuff with that intern chick.  That's why he never engendered much trust while in office.  If a person will lie about something as inconsequential as...

    Besides, everybody's messed up in some way somehow sometime about something with or without somebody.

    Paul was clear on that: "All have sinned and..."

    Not you all.


    Truly, truly, He says to you/me, there are no secrets...sooner or later...and definitely in the end if you know what He means.

    Let's save ourselves from the pathology to hide when we're gonna be discovered eventually anyway.

    God can handle the truth about us.

    That's why He came in Jesus - to save us from the damning consequences of the truth about us.

    And if other people can't handle it, then that's their more than existential problem in a Matthew 6:14-15 kinda way.


    Before Fifteen Secrets for Life and Ministry was published about nine years ago after writing it about twelve years ago, the title was Fifteen Theses for Life and Ministry.

    The publisher prompted the change.

    He said, "Nobody will buy it if we say fifteen theses."

    So he changed it to secrets.

    Surprise!  Surprise!

    Both of us were wrong.

    Be that as it turned out to be, I look back at those not so secret secrets that were intended to be theses and realize I've changed some/lots in the past twelve years.

    Heaven, I've changed some/lots in the last twelve hours, uh, minutes, uh, seconds, uh...

    He doesn't change; but we better hope we do if we're going to get better instead of staying...

    So I've decided to have some fun at my expense and hold some "Deeper Discipleship" sessions over the summer - 15 if you can guess why - and admit where I've changed and let folks grapple in a Christian kinda way with whether those changes have been for the...

    I've never held any classes related to the book for egotistical reasons - ponder on that for a while - though several churches have and you can too if you'd like a box of 'em at a highly discounted price for reasons noted in previous paragraphs (viz., postage and discretionary humorously insulting honorarium).

    What prompted this confession/inspiration/indigestion was reading my latest book in preparation for a NPR interview on 4/27 and discovering some typos and other aggravating printing miscues along with some stuff that I'd do/write differently than...

    Quickly, two things don't bother me.

    The typos and other printing miscues really don't bother me because I've grown up when it comes to anal grammar/spelling stuff; believing content/substance is more important than form/style no matter what religious people think.

    Change doesn't bother me either; or as I wrote in the non-bestseller that we're gonna dissect over the summer maybe along with your church/group: "When you think you've arrived, it's time to start over" (Thesis/Secret 11 on pages 159-170).


    Speaking of my latest book, Kathie will post the schedule for this summer's appearances and signings below; including what happened on 4/28 which will be posted summarily in the next edition on 5/1.



Blessings and Love!

I Just Wanna Ride (FTW)

Appearances and Book-Signings

April 28
11:45 a.m.

Woodstock Harley-Davidson
2050 S. Eastwood
Woodstock, Illinois

Blessing of Bikes and Bikers

Free Lunch, Live Music, & Prizes to Follow!

May 3
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Plains Pub and Restaurant
37 E. Carey Street
Plains, Pennsylvania
"Lobster Night"

June 1-2
Noon - 5:00 p.m. on Friday
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Saturday

The Vintage Rally
(J&P Cycles)
National Motorcycle Museum
Anamosa, Iowa
(Details, Activities, Schedule, Lodging)

July 14
7:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Rock River Valley Blood Center
1740 S. State and Route 20
Belvidere, Illinois
"Buy/Read a Book While Giving Blood to Save a Life!"

August 7
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame
999 Main Street
Sturgis, South Dakota

Appearances can be scheduled and bulk orders of book available
for your event, club, church, or shop by calling 815-544-6402.

Click on for related inspirations/indigestions.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pastor Searches and Bad Biker Weather

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



    I'm heading off to NE Pennsylvania after the second service on Sunday to see my dad who's been ailing along with my mom and sister who I haven't seen for too long.

    Of course, I'm taking the pony!

    Continuing the eschatological kinda weather that we've been having in an apocalyptic kinda way  - just snowed big time over there - people have already asked, some with sick smiles if you know what I mean and bikers do, "Are you still going to take your motorcycle?"

    Actually, my pony will take me; but, again, if you don't ride, you have no idea what that means.  It's kinda like trying to figure out why dogs like to stick their heads out of cage windows; which, uh, bikers do get.

    Parenthetically, lots of non-bikers, especially the ones who'd like to be bikers if they, uh, uh, never mind, seem to get some kinda thrill when they see bikers riding in the rain and cold and...  There's even a commercial about it with some wimpy excuse for a dude tsk-tsking a biker in a downpour.  Maybe you've seen it.  Psst.  What they don't know is authentics would still rather ride than being caged regardless of the weather; and that's a metaphor for life in general.


    Getting back to the point (?), authentics know it's going to rain sometime during just about every ride.  You're going to start in it or ride into it and yet always ride through it sooner or later; or as LS sang in tribute to moms: "Troubles will come and they will pass" (Simple Man).

    Jesus: "Rain falls on everybody."

    When I'm asked those kinda questions - see the third sentence-paragraph again - I wonder what's happened to the adventurous spirit of America.

    One look at who and what's going on in D.C. and I think again, "Never mind."

    So, yeah, I'm gonna ride in the rain and through the see my dad, mom, sister, sign some books in Plains, and stay free.

    I don't expect people who prefer cages to understand.

    Another metaphor.


    Speaking of cages, it's become fashionable for pastor search committees to be told what they can and can't ask candidates for their churches.

    And that's why so many churches get into so much trouble!

    They fail to ask stuff that's important to 'em because somebody told 'em that they can't ask such questions and then they're surprised to find out that...


    Aside from never seeing rules about that except for ones auto-suggested by people who think they..., I recommend pastor search committees recall - they've all got bad experiences to recall - what happened when they didn't ask stuff that's important to 'em and were surprised to find out that...

    Besides, "Who's afraid of the big bad...?"

    C'mon, if you're gonna have to live and maybe even minister with 'em, you better ask 'em about stuff like polity, sexuality, abortion, weed, patriotism, riding motorcycles in the rain, or whether BBPBHO is really the...

    If not, you'll be sooooooory when you're surprised to find out that...

    Bad weather can be overcome, uh, if you prepare in advance.

    You can always take an alternate route and always take along appropriate...


    Don't get me wrong.

    Some churches are just sick.

    Yeah, some pastors are just sick.

    I've got a mirror.

     Moretheless, it's the responsibility of denominational oversight folks to make sure sick folks get healed before they're allowed to date and certainly before they marry if you know what I mean related to all of this.

    I know at least two churches in the local expression of my franchise that really, really, really need some healing before they should ever entertain calling another...

    And I'm gonna do my part to make sure that...

    Sure, mistakes will always be made and every day ain't a hot fudge sundae for the best of, uh, marriages of any kind; and if we're related to Jesus authentically, we can/must work out most of 'em if we're not gonna be posers about loving Jesus by loving like Him.

    Go back to the last two sentence-paragraphs of the previous section.


    So, go ahead and administer your litmus tests before signing on the dotted line.

    You'll avoid lots of bad weather and overcome most of the unavoidable storms, quakes, and...

    It's your church on His behalf; or, rather, His church with you being the stewards of...

    Something like that.

    So, as long as you stay within the real rules of your franchise, ignore those control freaks with their imposing ideologies on ya and let Him direct you to the right...


    BTW, there is a way to cut to the quick and really smoke 'em out.

    Just ask her/him about Jesus!

    Ask, "Who is Jesus to you?"

    Don't let 'em quote Barth or Kung or Moltmann or BBPBHO.

    Ask 'em for a personal confession.

    If she/he can't talk about Him without stuttering, stammering, or asking to be excused for the restroom, just thank 'em for their time and show 'em the door.

    As a sage once told me about any kinda marriage, it's better not to get married in many instances if you know what he/He means.

    Simply, if she/he gets Him right or wrong, the odds are in your favor on figuring out where she/he stands on the other stuff.

    Admittedly, if the search committee can't talk about Him, all bets are off.

    Don't even attempt to get on a pony - rain or shine - if you haven't taken some lessons from Him.



Blessings and Love!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Christians and $

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



    I don't check the financial records/statements of the saints who gather for worship, work, and witness in Belvidere, Illinois (FPC).

    I don't even sneak a peek at the pledge cards that we don't use anymore.

    I could.

    It's my, uh, right and some pretend responsibility as a member of presbytery aka my ecclesiastical franchise/gig/bishop/license/etc.

    I know that runs counter to what a lot of church management gurus pontificate.

    I know financial stewardship is among the best measures of a person's fidelity to God.

    Checkbooks and plastic balances don't lie.

    You can tell a lot about a person's spiritual health by how she/he spends $.


    It goes back to The Rev. Harold F. Mante (RIP).

    He was my home pastor; and among the top ten of wisest mentors in my life.

    He told me before 5/77 to keep my nosey nose out of the financial records/statements of church members.

    Depending upon the person, he said the smell can be intoxicating or nauseating.

    Moreover, he warned me about the unavoidable prejudices that develop when an undershepherd knows what a person gives in praise and thanks to God through His Church.


    He always had good advice; which, uh, really worked when I paid attention to him/it.

    For example, he said I should never learn how to use office equipment: "If you're not careful," he warned, "you'll end up running off the bulletins too."

    He also told me not to accept keys to every lock in the church.

    Think about it.

    Uh, BTW, he always said, "Think about it."

    A lost art in...

    Yeah, he was an early inspiration for KD.

    Moretheless, he told me to be absolutely faithful to Jesus but never a mindless drone to anyone else (e.g., denominations and other governments that often confuse auto-suggestion with divine revelation).


    Maybe it's necessary to check the financial records/statements of church members if you know what I mean.

    It's never necessary to check the financial records/statements of saints if you know what I mean.

    Christians are good stewards by, uh, Spirit.

    They don't waste any time on natural debates about tithing; knowing He expects 'em to manage everything entrusted to 'em in ways that will honor Him.


    Managing everything entrusted to us by Him - time, talent, thought, treasure - for His glory alone.

    Or as my pastor often said, "Christianity without stewardship is about as authentic as Christianity without faith, hope, love, or Jesus."


    I never have problems raising $ in the Church.

    I don't have to check up on saints who keep checkin' in with Jesus.

    That's why I don't talk too much about $ in an institutional kinda way.

    I just keep askin' Christians for $ to do, uh, Christian kinda stuff; and they always, uh, deliver.


    I spend most of my time talking about Jesus and what it means to follow Him in a Biblical kinda way.

    Obviously, that includes financial stewardship.

    Yet I don't have to keep pressin' it; because saints make the, uh, connection.



Blessings and Love!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Waiting to be Born Again

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



    Inspirations/indigestions come regularly while walking Kopper.

    He goes and then I gotta...


    Anyway, it happens many mornings in a Psalms kinda way (check out the texts via Nelson's or Strong's).

    Two or three days ago, Kopper was doing his thing and I was trying to do His thing and I began to confess my ingratitude after a few moments of singing, "Count your blessings, name them one by one...Count your blessings, see what God has done..."

    Before being prompted by an inspiration/indigestion to sing, I was bantering and moaning with him and Him about not appearing on Leno or NPR or even Stewart or Colbert to hawk my latest book, scrounging around for $ to see my ailing dad not to mention upgrading the pony with more stuff to weather the, uh, weather, selling my Cleveland TA1s and never being able to hit a ball with the same confidence since, not having more $ to give away when someone shows up with a hand out, wondering how I'm gonna afford the mission opportunities this summer, and...

    It/I was kinda pathetic.

    I can be that way too often.

    That's what my mom says.

    Francis said Jesus was a beggar; but He begged for others.

    If you don't know what I mean, good for you and bad for me and...

    Moretheless, in the midst of the, uh, again, pathetic bantering and moaning, I started singing, "Count your blessings, name them..."

    I began to feel so ashamed for being so selfish and ungrateful and...

    I confessed it to him and Him and he wasn't moved to do anything other than his thing while I felt some increased communion with Him in a 1 John 1:5-10 kinda way.

    Yeah, I mourned the ingratitude; then quickly began praising Him for the excessive graces that I had, uh, not acknowledged enough in adoring thanksgiving.

    The walk ended after about 30 minutes.

    The result may/can/should be a closer walk with Him.



    A story from Theophane the Monk.

    "I had just one desire - to give myself completely to God.  So I headed for the monastery.  An old monk asked me, 'What is it you want?'"

    "I said, 'I just want to give myself to God.'"

    "I expected him to be gentle, fatherly, but he shouted at me, 'NOW!'"

    "I was stunned.  He shouted again, 'NOW!'"

    "Then he reached for a club and came after me.  I turned and ran.  He kept coming after me, brandishing his club and shouting, 'NOW! NOW!'"

    "That was years ago.  He still follows me, wherever I go.  Always that stick, always that 'NOW!'"



    I've decided I can't wait any longer to be born again, uh, again.

    I mean it's time to be more like Jesus if I'm really, really, really serious about loving Jesus by loving like Jesus.

    So I've decided not to mention needs/wants/desires/hurts/hopes/fears to anyone ever again but Him; though he aka Kopper may still...

    Psalm 62.

    As Norby scolded one morning over caffeine, "If that's what God wants for you, you're gonna get it."

    The corollary being...

    True in a Matthew 6:25-34; 7:7-12 juxtaposed to James 4:3 kinda way.

    In the meantime, I've scaled back in...

    I've decided not to wait any longer to be born again, uh, again.



    "Earth is the only place you get regenerated - don't wait until you die, because, there's no place to regenerate after you're dead" (Tozer).


Blessings and Love!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



    Apostle: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought."

    Humility includes recognizing our dependence upon F/S/HS for all things here and hereafter.

    Humility includes recognizing our interdependence within His family to keep the Church healthy.

    Again, the apostle: "To each is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good...We each have different work to do.  So we belong to each other; and each needs all the others."

    Simply, no one is any more nor any less important than anyone else because everyone is interdependent in dependence upon F/S/HS.

    Corporate health depends upon that kind of individual humility.

    Ecclesiology 101.


    Fleshing it out in our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois begins with the undershepherd not preening around in garments (vestimentum in Latin which accentuates their inappropriate not to mention distracting antiquity) that would make the suffering servant blush with...

    It means the organ is no more nor no less important than the drums, guitars, and...

    It means our Chancel Choir is no more nor no less important than our Praise Team.

    It means our youth groups are no more nor no less important than our geezer groups.

    It means our radio station is no more nor no less important than our First Response Team.

    It means our deacons are no more nor no less important than our elders.

    It means our custodian is no more nor no less important than, uh, gulp,...

    Catch the drift?

    Let's go deeper.

    It means ordination - setting apart for sacred purposes - shouldn't be limited to...

    It's the priesthood of all believers for real.

    That's why we ordained brokers, bankers, secretaries, teachers, construction workers, homemakers, musicians, factory workers, and just about anybody/everybody who was ready to acknowledge and accept their call/Beruf/vocation/job/whatever-ya-wanna-call-it as entrusted/enabled by F/S/HS to fulfill the apostolic exhortations of this edition's first section on 4/15/12.

    Ordination was never intended to elevate any one over any other.

    Ordination recognizes the distinctions of interdependence in dependence upon F/S/HS for the health of the Church.

    I think that's why I've always declined to use those church lot parking spaces reserved for clergy which, I guess, is how, uh, some clergy boast their, uh, humility.

    Please don't get me wrong.

    I've done my share of preening; but rather than rationalize it, it's time for me to confess it.

    Moretheless, Kathie designed a bulletin cover for us that got it/Him. (Note from Kathie:  Bob is being too kind, I did not design the picture but rather found a graphic and tweaked it a bit so it could be used as a bulletin cover.)



    That came to mind while reading a note from Jim Wilken (check out the link in the right column of this site): "Had lunch with my buddy Rudy today who met this morning with his buddy Kent whom Rudy gave a copy of I Just Wanna Ride (FTW).  Kent told Rudy he's always ready to go for a run or go on a ride.  But church?  Well, he can take or leave it.  The quote was, 'Church sucks.  What is there about biking that can draw people out and bring them together that Christ doesn't have to bring people together in the Church?'  I did not have an immediate answer."

    Continuing, "As I was doing the closest thing to riding that I can do to feel the wind in my face (mowing the lawn on my tractor), I thought, 'That was the wrong question.'  Here are questions we should ask.  What is it about us that will go for a run or a ride but not respond when Jesus says, 'Follow Me!'?  What have churches done to Christ that makes it easier to hang with Him while running or riding?"

    Mowing on, "I should have gotten off the tractor then; but the lawn wasn't done.  So I kept mowing as God and I kept talking.  Not that you asked, but here's the title to the sequel to I Just Wanna Ride (FTW): I Just Wanna Ride with Jesus (LTW)."

    Pressing, "We don't get to say FTW with Jesus because we're supposed to be showing His love to the world; hence LTW.  And if we are going to love the world and love the world as it needs to be loved as opposed to how it may want to be loved, then we are gonna want to ride with Jesus.  As a matter of fact, we are going to want to do everything that we do with Jesus."

    Amplifying, "It's a fill in the blank sort of thing; as in, 'I just wanna ___ with Jesus.'  If we are His disciples, then we need to do it with Him; or we don't need to do it.  Wanna bake?  Bake with Jesus!  Wanna sing?  Sing with Jesus!  Wanna feed folks who are hungry, shelter people who are homeless, and protect people who are vulnerable?  Do it with Jesus!"

    Concluding, "In case you haven't figured it out, this sequel that you are going to write has someone willing to collaborate with you.  Not that there's anything wrong with I Just Wanna Ride (FTW), but Kent's questions suggest to me that you have to press on."

    Postscript: "Anyway, that's what was going on while I was on the tractor."


    Humility includes knowing there's always room for improvement.

    That's how our interdependence in dependence upon F/S/HS evolves in a faithful kinda way.


    When the splash turns into cash and the publisher is ready for another risk, I'll be calling Jim.

    Uh, maybe He's already...



Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

After Easter with Tim Tebow, Tozer, and...

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



    Talk about stealing headlines.

    The Giants win the Super Bowl and everybody's talking about Tim Tebow going to the Jets.

    It reminds me of professional golf.

    No matter who's winning what, all we hear about is Tiger coming back, backsliding, coming back again, sliding further back, coming back again and again and...

    Getting back to TT - you can read more about him in the archives of KD not to mention the gazillion comments/commentaries/kudos/cynicisms at your fingertips by googling his name - it's a win/win for everybody involved.

    The Jets steal the headlines.

    The pressure is off the Giants with everyone expecting even more of Ryan,

    The Broncos bolt to the top of Super Bowl prognostications with, arguably, the best on-the-field-coach-quarterback in the history of the game.

    Getting back to the Gator who won't follow in the footsteps of Broadway Joe if you know what I mean, he spoke to over 15K in Georgetown, Texas at an outdoor Easter Day worship service (4/8).

    Bringing Romans 1:16-17 to mind which often escapes the noodles of most mainliners these days, he said it's important to be outspoken about faith, urged/admonished athletes to be role models, and said he welcomed the attention of his witness for obvious reasons if you know what he/He means.

    I couldn't help thinking of a fundie classmate at seminary who urged/admonished me just before I was ordained, "Talk about Jesus!  That'll shock 'em!"

    And I can't help but lamenting that I needed to be told that or that TT is scolded by posers in pulpits/pews for doing it so convincingly/compellingly/consistently/courageously.

    Reminds me of Moody responding to a critic: "I prefer the way I do it to the way you don't do it."


    Now that the posers have gone back into hibernation until 12/24/12, I gotta confess our Holy Week on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois was awesome.

    Yes, awesome in the highest spiritual sense of that word.

    While the bean-counters are excited about our Maundy Thursday service being packed for the first time in years, He showed up in a big, big, big, awesome, awesome, awesome way; bringing to mind what you can hear by dialing 815-544-3535.  It was almost Pentecostal in an Acts kinda way.

    Then came our two services on Easter Day.

    Again, awesome!

    Of course, the posers didn't get it/Him because they were, you know, just doing their little-dab'll-do-ya religious thing.

    But for those who showed up with faith or wanting faith or renewing their relationship with Jesus or inviting Him into their hearts for the first time, it was awesome.

    A funny moment in a horrific way after more thought.

    I preached at the first service and we had an awesome cantata in the second one that aligned hearts with Him in an awesome way.

    After the second service, I greeted an unfamiliar fellah who complained, "I came to hear you because ___ told me to come and hear you; and now that you didn't speak, I guess I'll never hear you."

    "Friend," I said, "you wouldn't have heard me if I spoke; 'cause if you didn't hear Him in the music of the moment..."


    Combining both services, teaching appointments, and so on, people can hear me over 130 times a year.

    When I told my wife about it, she said, "You're right and wrong.  He wouldn't have heard you if you spoke.  That's right.  Of course, that's why he doesn't hear and doesn't honor God regularly.  He's not supposed to come to worship to hear you or anybody else but to hear Him through you and others called to..."



    That reminds me of the very, very, very few folks who still don't get the genre of my latest book.

    Specifically, very, very, very few folks don't get some of the language that I quote, reference, and the like.

    They remind me of folks who think Jesus was using Emily Post's best as quoted in Matthew 5:21ff. or the plethora of pret' near expletives directed at the Pharisees throughout the NT.

    Some folks don't know Greek, care about Greek, or flunked it in seminary.  I'm not saying Greek is that important; but it ain't bad in curing posing Biblical literacy/lifestyle/language if you know what, uh, it means.

    It goes back to thesis 4 of Fifteen Secrets: "Trying to be rational with the irrational is illogical; the ancillary being, being wrong invalidates argument and being right does not necessitate it."

    Posers in pulpits/pews who don't get TT, uh, don't get TT and Who makes him...

    Posers on Easter Day(s) and other "holy" days don't get Him because they come to hear...


    Tozer: "The true worth of a church member is revealed by his life on Monday rather than on Sunday."

    Jesus doesn't want 10%.  He expects 100% if you know what He means.

    Putting it another way, the authenticity of someone's Christianity is exposed by the priority of worship in their lives apart from Easter Day(s), Christmas Eve(s), and...

    Tozer: "Our fruit will follow its native tree."

    Jesus: "A tree is known by its fruit."

    Putting it another way, the authenticity of someone's Christianity is exposed by confession, conduct, and countenance consistent with Christ.

    Tozer: "No man has any moral right to go before the people who has not first been long before the Lord."

    Jesus: "Tarry with Me."

    Putting it another...

    Uh, there is no other way.

    Posers on Easter Day(s) and the like don't get that/Him because they listen to the wrong voices.



Blessings and Love!