tommy edwards and his mandolin

I'm blogging via email from the open mic at Cosmos. Up on stage is one of the freshest voices I've heard in a long time: Tommy Edwards. He's singing and playing a mandolin. He's got funky glasses and a stocking cap. And he rocks.

me we God you we

Those of you familiar with Andy Stanley's approach to preaching may recognize the "me we God you we" way of organizing a message. It's fleshed out in much greater detail in his book on preaching called "Communicating for Change." In fact, he uses the term "communicator" instead of preacher. Not a slight change in and of itself.

Me = starting with a personal revelation or disclosure.

We = finding common ground with your audience.

God = bringing God's truth to your one point.

You = applying your one point to the listener's life

We = inspiring a vision of what life would be like if everybody got it, too.

Becoming handy to have around

Over the past two days I've changed a headlight on my Honda, replaced two light switches, and fixed a broken track on a bathroom drawer. Fixing the light switches required me to make several trips outside to turn off the right breakers -- which I undoubtedly thought would be the wisest course of action. In the matter of 48 hours I've gone from techno-geek to all around handy man.


in between the now and the not yet

Many times we find ourselves in the space between now and the not yet. It is the place in life where we may feel like we're in a holding pattern -- circling around, waiting for directions for directions to land or to be given the green light to takeoff.

We often feel like the formative moments in life require action ... we must do something, tackle something, gain something, or give up something.

Perhaps there is just as great formation in the still moments, when no action is required or expected. When taking action may be the least prudent of all decisions.

Often God uses this space between the now and the not yet to shape and mold us in ways that endless action would never allow for. It may be that he is forming us in the interim for greater challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

the tipping point

malcolmI'm within a few pages of finishing The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. It's a book I vaguely remember hearing about a while back but not pursuing until I saw it referenced in a book by Phil Vischer. I finally picked up a copy this past Saturday at Borders and haven't been able to put it down. It's about how social epidemics spread -- and it's fascinating.

He talks about the three types of people who help create and spread social epidemics -- connectors, mavens, and salespeople. A connector is someone who is well-connected. The maven is an information gatherer and disseminator. The salespeople is a persuader. These three are what he calls the Law of the Few ... that it only takes a few people to create a wave of change.

He also discusses principles of stickiness -- what enables one message or product or trend to stick while others don't? In addition to this, there is the influence of context or environment on the probability of an idea taking root and spreading.

I almost hesistated to put Gladwell's picture up since it might prejudice you one way or the other -- but I kind of like it. His hair is actually a bit funkier on the dust cover of The Tipping Point.


high definition living

As I was driving along in my car this past week, I heard an interesting statistic: between now and Super Bowl Sunday (February 4) an estimated 2.5 million people will buy an HDTV just for the game. That’s up from 1.7 million who did so last year during the same time frame (link).

While I enjoy football, that statistic just cracks me up. I can almost hear the conversations as a couple drives past Best Buy ... “Honey, I was thinking that we needed a new 72-inch high definition TV so that you would enjoy the Gilmore Girls that much more.”

I must admit that the new HDTV’s are a fine sight to behold ...larger, clearer, more realistic. But there’s one thing they are not able to do — they can’t put you in the game. While it definitely improves your experience, it’s not the same as being there.

We are a people who hunger for a richer, fuller life and yet we often settle for buying bigger televisions. Instead of creating our own high definition experiences, we watch someone else’s from our living room. Maybe the living room should be outside the house, where life really happens.

While there’s nothing wrong with HDTV’s (and if you feel led to buy me one ...), there is something wrong with a Christ follower who chooses to watch from the couch rather than follow Jesus into the game.

May this week find us partnering with God to create our high definition memories.

ken hensley 2.0

Instead of coming up with a string of New Year's resolution, I've decided to dub 2007 as Ken Hensley 2.0 ... new and improved. I've been trying to eat healthier and exercise more -- and have been moderately successful on both ends. In terms of eating, I've added more color to my diet and try to eat a mix of fruits and vegetables every day. I've even started drinking a variety of natural juices -- pomegranate, cranberry, and a few of the Naked Juice blends (Blue Machine is my favorite). Just the other day I added V-8 to my rotation since I noticed that "one glass is equal to two servings of vegetables." I figured it couldn't get much easier than that! After drinking my first glass of V-8 I did feel better and more alert and even felt like pursuing a career as a trombone player.

The other thing I've done is try to limit my intake of foods that have high fructose corn syrup or similar sugars. Never a bad idea. I've also started eating more fish and have found a nicely seasoned wild salmon filet from Costco that I would recommend to anyone.

On the exercise end ... it's not progressed quite as well. I have taken out my bike for a few rides and walked a bit more but not to the extent I need to. I may have to come up with a beta version (2.0.1) sometime in the spring.

book update

A few weeks ago I posted about reading "Letters to a Young Evangelical" by Tony Campolo. That one has been finished and passed on to a friend. I'm currently working on two books concurrently. The first is The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living with a Grande Passion by Leonard Sweet. It's an interesting read about how Starbucks creates an environment and how God calls us to live lives of passion.

The second book is called Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About God, Dreams, and Talking Vegetables. It is the autobiography of Phil Vischer, the guy who created VeggieTales. I'm only about half-way through but it's a good read. Of course, it helps if you are a parent of a child who grew up on Bob and Larry.


A Few Phrases You Probably Will Never Hear at LifePoint ...

  • “Way to go, Patriots.”

  • “God prefers you to drink decaf coffee.”

  • “Did you hear Pastor Ken got a tattoo?”

  • “The Old Testament is way too long.”

  • “I think we’ll go for a punk emo sound.”

  • “Tuck your shirt in.”

  • “God helps those who help themselves.”

  • “Bingo!”


tim flannery in concert

Tim Flannery and friends will be in concert at the Christian Church of Lemon Grove on Sunday evening, January 28th at 6:00 PM. As you undoutedly know, Tim has a great Christian witness in addition to his baseball and music talents. There is a group discount rate for 5 or more tickets - call the LGCC office for additional info (619-465-1888).

to stand or sit

This is from John Leo, of U.S. News and World Report fame. Filed under "strange but true."

"Now sit, Ingvar, sit."

Young women in Sweden, Germany, and Australia have a new cause: They want men to sit down while urinating. This demand comes partly from concerns about hygiene–avoiding the splash factor–but, as Jasper Gerard reports in the English Spectator, 'more crucially because a man standing up to urinate is deemed to be triumphing in his masculinity, and by extension, degrading women.' One argument is that if women can't do it, then men shouldn't either. Another is that standing upright while relieving oneself is 'a nasty macho gesture,' suggestive of male violence. A feminist group at Stockholm University is campaigning to ban all urinals from campus, and one Swedish elementary school has already removed them. In Australia, an Internet survey shows that 17 percent of those polled think men ought to sit, while 70 percent believe they should be allowed to stand. Some Swedish women are pressuring their men to take a stand, so to speak. Yola, a 25-year-old Swedish trainee psychiatrist, says she dumps boyfriends who insist on standing. 'What else can I do?' said her new boyfriend, Ingvar, who sits. "

and this didn't happen in california

Typically, when strange but true news stories surface, there's a good chance it happened in California. I'm not sure of the exact odds, but they're pretty high. That's what makes this story so fascinating -- it actually happened in Memphis and not in San Francisco.

A 60-year-old man is charged with paying a mother to have sex with her 8-year-old daughter. That alone is bizarre enough. But the man was scheduled to be arraigned in a Shelby County court ... and the presiding judge is his fiance! That conflict of interest was quickly resolved when all of the General Sessions judges in Shelby County recused themselves because of the relationship.

The accused guy is an employee of the Shelby County's Sheriff's Department and used his fiance/judge as a reference when he applied for the job. Newspapers have reported that he was not only engaged to the judge, but they were living together at the time the purported rape occured. Wow!

And in a final twist, the new judge promptly reduced his bond from $150,000 to $75,000 and the fiance/judge told attorneys that he will continue to live with her if he is able to make bond.


nature or nurture

This entry is being posted from an "undisclosed" Starbucks location. I'll only say that it's somewhere in East County. I'm not sure if it's location, time of day, or just luck of the draw ... but I'm surrounded by some of the strangest collections of people ever gathered in one Starbucks. Even typing that doesn't seem very pastoral, but it's true. And if they knew I was a pastor ... they'd think I was the strangest one of all.


a life of adventure

Sometimes the Christian life is portrayed as a dry and dull routine of staying within the boundaries of what is acceptable to God. It’s seen as a lifestyle that limits rather than expands opportunities. To those on the outside (and a few on the inside), the life of a Christ-follower is viewed to bland and boring.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

The life of a Christ-follower is an invitation to follow him into the risky parts of life ... to serve those who are disenfranchised, to battle injustice, to dream up creative ways of communicating truth.

The life of a Christ-follower is to be marked by a sense of adventure. Where will God take me today? Who will I have the opportunity to influence for eternity? What does God have in store for the next chapter of my life? What dream is God forming in my heart that he has the resources to accomplish?

When seen through this perspective, the Christian life is anything but boring and predictable. God forgive us when we lose our sense of wonder.

My prayer for you is that you capture the spirit of this great adventure and live it to the fullest! Don’t settle for less and expect God to do even more than you ask or imagine.


busy season starts in earnest

The busy season is here. We have school, church, piano, and now softball has started. Take today, for example: 9 AM softball practice, an 11:00 bowling party, and a 4 PM concert at the Sports Arena. And it's Saturday ...

a near rumble at starbucks

Last Thursday, I was working out of the Starbucks on Navajo and Fletcher Parkway. This Starbucks -- like many Starbucks -- doesn't have enough electrical outlets for people to plug into. I find this to be highly annoying, especially since Starbucks is trying to court the laptop crowd. It is either a design flaw in their store roll-out plan or a deliberate attempt to limit the time people will spend in the store.

At any rate, I digress. Just had to get that off my chest.

I was sitting at a table, plugged into the closest electrical outlet -- which left one open. Two guys sit down at opposite ends of the table and begin to unpack. One guy hands me his power cord and asks if I'll plug him in. So, I take his cord and start to plug it in. At this point, the other fellow speaks up and says to this guy that he was about to plug in there. Then an argument breaks out over who was there first.

Now, these are not 15 or 16-year old kids; one guy looks to be in his 30s and the other fellow was at least 50. Neither guy would back down. The older guy then begins cussing out the younger guy. This is all unfolding right in front of me ... right in the middle of Starbucks. I really thought the old guy might start throwing blows.

I only had about 30 minutes of work left and knew that I had a fully-charged battery. I offered to unplug and let both of them plug in but the older guy wouldn't let me. Instead, he sat there and stewed while the other guy plugged in. When I finally left, he said "thanks" and proceeded to call the guy another name while he finally plugged in. The best part was ... they had to sit directly across from each other in order for both to be plugged in.

For a few seconds, I thought about grabbing another cup of coffee and just settling in to a comfy chair to watch.

If a fight had broken out, there may have been the workings of a class-action lawsuit against Starbucks for not having enough electrical outlets.


opportunites, challenges, and consequences

Opportunities, challenges, and consequences. These are the very things that faced Adam and Eve as they were given a place in the Garden of Eden.

Just imagine being given the opportunity to name all the animals. Or being handed the chance to establish traditions that would impact the history of humankind. One of the statements that often grinds a vision to a halt is “But we’ve never done it that way before.” For Adam and Eve, that was especially true.

Inherent with these same opportunities were great challenges. We often benefit from the experiences of others through mentoring relationships or by reading books. For Adam and Eve, there was no one else to set a precedent or provide an example.

With opportunities and challenges come consequences. Not all the consequences were negative. They had moments of intimacy with God unlike any that others have experienced. Some of the consequences were earth-shattering. One poor decision changed the course of human history and each of us are impacted by it.

Ironically, these are the same three things which each of us must face every day. How we handle opportunities and challenges forms the measure of our life. The consequences which flow out of those moments of decision may indeed be earth-shattering ... for good or bad.


first sunday of 2007

Just thought I'd post a short note on this first Sunday of 2007. I hope your next twelve months are even better than the previous ones. I'd also like to encourage you to think, dream, and act on deeper things -- the weightier matters of life. Don't be afraid to believe that you can make a difference ... or repair a relationship ... or start a new project ... or leave behind unhealthy baggage.

The bottom line: don't be afraid to live life to the fullest, the way God intended it to be.

Feel free to shoot me a line, give me a call, or buy me a cup of coffee if you'd like to talk more.

Ken Hensleyken@lifepointcommunity.com


new year of teaching at lifepoint

Our teaching series this month at LifePoint will focus on great stories from the Old Testament (also known as the Hebrew Scriptures). As I was looking over teaching ideas, I felt drawn to many of the great characters and plots that are found in the first half of our Bibles.

In January we’ll cover the implications of creation, the consequences of Adam and Eve’s decision-making, the faith of Abraham, and God’s great rescue of the Israelites which became known as the Passover. The first three stories are found in the first book of the Bible.

In fact the first half of this year will be spent in the Old Testament. As those who follow Jesus, it benefits us to understand the teachings that influenced Jesus himself. The stories of the men and women of the Old Testament are there to inspire, challenge, and inform us about how to live godly lives.

Some of these stories will be familiar; others may be somewhat obscure or lesser known. That’s the great blessing of delving into the Bible — finding those gems!

As we go through these different lessons, I would encourage you to embark on some sort of intentional reading plan. Maybe it’s to read the Bible in one year or to read through the Gospels. Perhaps you want to read from the Psalms.

The key is to allow time for you to interact with God’s Word. The results will be life-changing.

not the way you want to start the new year

You'll notice this post is about a week after the last post ... no big trip to NYC or vacation. As we entered the new year, Tonya and I both agreed we needed to lose a few extra pounds and I found a way to drop a quick 8 ... get sick! Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were spent laid up in bed -- and with the realization that 24 hour cable news only consists of about 28 minutes of news played over and over and over. Our television in the bedroom is one of the older models that doesn't go past channel 99 without a cable box ... so that cut out the Science channel, Discovery-Times, and Noggin (just kidding about Noggin).

But as you may surmise ... I'm back. A little thinner, smaller appetite, and just glad to be upright.