at the swap meet

Kobe’s Swap Meet is an adventure. Part garage sale, part living infomercial. In the early 90s I bought a pair of Hawaiian shorts there that last all of about six weeks. But I loved those shorts!

My parents never went to a swap meet: they went to flea markets. Is there a difference? Not that I know of. But it’s little wonder that flea markets became “swap meets.” Most people try to get rid of fleas, not buy them.

The beauty of a swap meet is the “deal.” It’s finding a treasure that isn’t found in stores (think the early days of the Salsa Master). It’s the joy of bantering and bargaining with the seller. It’s getting to poke around in other people’s stuff and not get in trouble for doing so.

Is there a spiritual lesson to be learned from the swap meet? I don’t have any particularly deep, penetrating observations. No brilliant insights.

Maybe that in and of itself is the spiritual lesson. Not every experience has to be the biggest, the brightest, the most sensational. If we’re not careful, we can become spiritual thrill-seekers and miss God in the ordinary experiences of life.


two new podcasts uploaded

I just uploaded 2 new podcasts from LifePoint Church. The first deals with worry and the second with handling anger. Find all the podcasts from LifePoint here.



This morning while getting out my vitamins, I dropped one of the chromium picolinate tablets (400 mcg, for those who keep score). As is usually the case, it automatically disappears. After spending a few moments looking around, I decided I needed to change my perspective if I were to find the tablet. Squatting down, I found it rather quickly.

Life is like that. Sometimes we can't see problems or opportunities because we're looking at life from the same perspective we always have. That's when we need to bend down (or over) and get a different angle.

I came across this quote that fits well: "Calling attention to consumerism, materialism and capitalism in America is like telling a fish to notice the water." (Kyle Osland, Icon Church).


labels and titles

At a softball game yesterday, one of the dad’s asked me: “What do people call you? Pastor or minister?” My first response was, I’ve been called much worse than that. I told him of receiving a piece of junk mail once that was addressed to “The Most Holy Reverend Ken Hensley.” How did they know, I said to my secretary. I should have kept the letter for proof.

When I meet people for the first time and they ask what to call me, I just say “Ken.” Part of it may be due to my background in a denomination that disliked titles. Part of it is my belief in the “priesthood of believers,” the biblical idea that all Christians are servants of God. We just serve in different capacities.

The title I cherish the most, however, is a rather simple one. It is to be known as a “Christian.” As a Christ-follower, my aim and ambition is to be like Jesus. The term “Christian” originally came about as a term of derision, or insult. It was applied to Christ-followers in a negative way. Over time, his followers adopted the word as their own.

It’s one of the reasons I dislike denominational labels -- they tend to distract the focus away from Jesus. Our first impulse when asked to identify ourselves should not be to say Baptist or Methodist but as Christian. One of the my favorite books I read while still in high school. The title? “I Just Want to be a Christian.”

People disconnected from God and Jesus aren’t all that interested in our intramural squabbles and denominational points of differentiation. They will be attracted to Jesus.

May we wear the title “Christian” in a way that honors our Christ.


send the dominator to opportunity camp

Dustin (aka "The Dominator") started attending Opportunity Camp as a camper. In recent years he has returned as a staffer, although he's still The Dominator. While he lived in California it wasn't too difficult to make the trip to Opportunity Camp. But now he lives in Texas and needs to buy an airline ticket. I'm offering the use of my PayPal account as a collection station for those interested in helping Dustin return to camp.

Click the button below to make your non-tax-deductible donation. Any money above and beyond the cost of airfare will be donated to camp.


coming on sunday

This Sunday (March 22) at LifePoint Church we'll be looking at part four in series on things that hold us spiritually captive. We'll focus on anger and how to learn a better way to blow off steam.


inexpensive postcards

I've used Vista Print for a number of print projects throughout the years. Spring Clearance Sale at VistaPrint! Save up to 90%


cruel and unusual punishment

The girls have gained control of the big screen and are forcing me to watch American Idol the "country version." Doesn't this qualify as cruel and unusual punishment?


overcoming addictions

Anna Nicole Smith is back in the news. Well, sort of. Jerry Brown, our Attorney General, has decided to pursue charges against three people who supplied Ms. Smith with the drugs that eventually contributed to her death.

The three people include her boyfriend/attorney and two doctors. In counseling terms, they served as her enablers. They were the ones who enabled her addiction and kept it alive.

For people battling addictions, the co-conspirators are all around us. Marketing messages tell our young ladies that they must look a certain way, encouraging eating disorders and other harmful habits. These same messages encourage our men to look at women as objects rather than human beings made in God’s image. We are told to take a pill if we’re sick or want strong bones or a healthy sex life.

Credit card debt continues to mount. A Blackberry phone becomes a Crackberry. Kids watch increasing amounts of television because it’s the electronic babysitter.
Technololgy serves us, then becomes our master. As a society, we have surrounded ourselves with enablers who will feed our addictions.

Addictions are no respector of persons. Young and old battle addictions. The rich and poor, black and white, male and female. Some addictions are physical; others are emotional or relational.

But there is hope. The fundamental message of Christianity is this: you can be changed. Words are used like transformation, renewal, rebirth. Words that speak to the fact that you don’t have to stay the same person you’ve always been.

May that message become reality ... in your life.


battling addictions

Part three of our “Held Hostage” series at LifePoint Church focuses on how Jesus can enable us to deal with addictions. You don’t have to be held spiritually captive – there is hope. And that hope is found in Jesus Christ. Join us this Sunday (March 15) as we explore what the Bible says about living victoriously over addictions.


strong fathers, strong daughters

Over the past two weeks I have had a number of conversations with parents, particularly dads, who are having a tough time with their daughters. Not in a run-away-from-home-get-pregnant kind of way. More like ... helping them deal with bullies, disappointment, motivation. Typical things that every kid goes through but not every parent is prepared to deal with.

Several years ago I read the book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters and it has helped me with raising our own two daughters. The basic premise of the book is that strong dads will raise strong daughters. To help your daughter grow and mature, dads must focus on their own behavior, values, and example. It's a great book and one I highly recommend.


pilates, not pilate

I'm now into my third week of morning workouts. While grazing the aisles at Costco, I came across the "3-in-1 Exercise Ball" in a box. It's an inflatable exercise ball and three DVDs -- with an elastic band and a web that wraps around the ball. One morning I'll do Pilates and the next day I'll do cardio and strength training. Although I'm beginning to miss my belly, I am feeling better with each day.


soul revolution

In April at LifePoint Church, we will starting the 60-60 experiment. This is an idea that I first came aross in a book by John Burke. The book is called Soul Revolution and it describes how Burke's church did the 60-60 experiment. What is the 60-60 experiment? It's attempting to think about God every 60 seconds for 60 days.


worry, the follow-up

Yesterday's message on overcoming worry generated many good pieces of feedback (it didn't hurt that I put Alfred E. Neuman's picture over my own). In doing a bit of research into the idea of worry, I came across an old book by Dale Carnegie: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

It may not help you win any friends or influence any people ... but it might help with a bit of worry.


what, me worry?

What, me worry?

Most of us know we shouldn’t worry. We know full well about the ill-effects of stress on the mind, body, and spirit. We don’t like living fearfully, wondering what’s around the next corner.

It’s also a fact that most of us worry from time to time. What we worry about may change, but the results are the same: worry doesn’t solve a thing.

Irritability is a sign that worry may be lurking beneath the surface. If you find yourself snapping at those you love, ask yourself if there’s something you’re worried about. When we choose to hold on to our worry rather than deal with it, those negative feelings and emotions will find a way to be released -- often in ways that only cause more problems.

So what do we do? One common response is medication. We are an overly medicated society, much of it due to the increase of stress and worry. Another option is to do nothing. Or, even worse, to feed our worry by worrying even more.

The best response is found in God’s Word:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Worry is a symptom that we are focused on our ability to handle a situation. The way to handle worry is to know when to hand a problem or a decision over to God. When you do, you can have confidence that he is able to make your path straight. In other words, God is able to handle whatever may come your way.


kid's album by the barenaked ladies

The Barenaked Ladies have been one of my favorite groups for about 10 or 15 years, I'm not quite sure since time flies when you're having fun. A few days ago I found out they had released a children's album and bought it today. It's a blast! As fans of BNL know, they can twist a great phrase and are also talented musicians. Here's a link to the album:

Snack Time by the Barenaked Ladies


launching a church

I've recently begun to listening to podcasts from Nelson Searcy, a pastor who started a church in New York City. One of the concepts he challenges is the idea of church planting -- preferring to call it "church launching" instead. The idea is launch with momentum rather than planting with a small group of people. It's an interesting take and he's written a book (and does seminars) about it.



becoming a contagious christian

Many Christ-followers have a list of people they want to see enter into a relationship with Jesus. Yet many of these same Christ-followers struggle to find a way to communicate what they believe. A few years ago I came across this book:

Becoming A Contagious Christian

It's by Bill Hybels (from Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago) and it's an easy-to-read book that helps Christians became contagious Christians. In other words, it helps us to become better at reaching out to those that we love and care about.


no perfect people allowed

No Perfect People Allowed

In April we will be starting the 60-60 experiment at LifePoint Church in San Diego. The idea is to think about God once every 60 seconds for 60 days. I came across the idea in a book by John Burke, a pastor in Austin, Texas. I'm looking forward to seeing what God can do when a group of people focus on him.

new podcasts uploaded

I've uploaded three new podcasts -- two from our previous teaching series on "Chasing the Lion" and the first installment of "Held Hostage."


seeing with new eyes

It’s been one year since I had Lasik surgery performed on both of my eyes. That’s twelve months without glasses, not having to worry about walking in the rain, and being able to read the clock while lying in bed. I spent thirty years wearing glasses. To tell the truth, it still seems hard to believe.

At first, it was strange to not have glasses. I would put on a t-shirt and reach for my glasses -- and they wouldn’t be there. But after a while, old habits begin to loosen their grip as they’re not needed anymore.

The same is true in our spiritual lives. We form habits which have the potential to enslave us. Many people are held hostage by the sins of bitterness, worry, addictions, anger, or lies. We become used to having them around, so much so that we adapt the rest of lives around them. It’s like a person wearing glasses -- we instinctively reach to take them off without even thinking about it.

But now that I’m one year into a new set of eyes, I can say that habits can change. A person in spiritual captivity doesn’t have to remain a captive. Jesus Christ has the power to set the captive free.

As we study the five areas of captivity this month, my prayer is that you will experience the life-changing power of Jesus in a way you’ve haven’t before.