Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Thoughts & Recap




Ø  There were first-time decisions for Christ in every service, at every campus! Never forget our main thing is seeing people come to Christ in a personal relationship and then taking steps to walk and grow to become more like Him. It all starts with a decision to become a follower of Christ!

Ø 
Since this past weekend, I can’t stop singing (in my head) I ran out of that grave!

Ø  We could not have served over 8,000 people without all of our AMAZING VOLUNTEERS! Thank you for serving in such a way you helped shape eternity.

Ø  We all have a Next Step to take. As incredible as last weekend was, today is a new day and God has new things in store for us to experience with Him. Sometimes memories haunt us and sometimes memories hold us back because they were so good. Take steps to heal from the hurts and allow the good memories, like last weekend, to propel you to take the steps that need to be taken on your journey.

Ø  I invited a friend and he didn’t make it. It’s ok. I care about him and I will continue to pray for him, and love and build the relationship.

Ø  We get to celebrate all over again in a matter of days! Every day we live in the hope and power of the empty tomb.

Ø  There were a bunch of people who came to church who had no response to the message of Christ’s love. It’s ok…keep loving and encouraging them to return. Trust God’s perfect timing. It may take more faith on your part than theirs.

Ø  I still can’t get over God’s Amazing and Relentless Love for us! There really is nothing else like it in the entire world. I am thankful for all of you who have committed your life to grow in His love and to share it so freely with those in our world who have yet to personally encounter it. 

Pastor Ken


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Terminal Cancer...yet it was the greatest gift he had ever received

“Hi, my name is Tom. I have terminal cancer and I’ve been given eight months to live.”

It seemed like a rather abrupt way for someone to introduce himself to me being a complete stranger but, in fact, we were family. I just hadn’t realized it yet.

Let me share the rest of the story…

I was recently studying for a sermon in the café of a Barnes & Noble bookstore when I noticed a young man near me reading a C.S. Lewis book. I asked him if he was enjoying the book and a conversation ensued about the church he attended, how he came to faith in Christ, and the campus ministry he was involved with. 

About 20 minutes later an older gentleman, who was sitting a few tables away, made his way over to where the young man and I were sitting.

The older gentleman introduced himself…“Hi, my name is Tom. I have terminal cancer and I’ve been given eight months to live.”

I replied, “I am so sorry to hear that.”

“Oh, don’t be. It turned out to be one of the greatest gifts I think I’ve ever received.” Tom said. He then went on to share with us how he couldn’t help but overhear our conversation about faith in Christ and our involvement in church. 

Tom shared that the day after he received his diagnosis, he felt the Lord impress upon him to begin praying a certain prayer.   

He said, “I began praying for FIVE friends that I would want to spend forever with in heaven. I then poured myself into building relationships with them so they would come to know Christ and we could be together forever.” Tom went on to say, “When you know your time is about up, it really helps put things in perspective. I’m about out of here but there are so many others that I want to join me in heaven.”

This next part is where Tom blew my mind. He explained that after a couple months of praying and pouring into his FIVE, he began to ask the Lord how he could have an even bigger impact on eternity in his remaining days. Tom said he felt the Lord asking him to expand his list and find 20,000 people who were willing to put FIVE people on their list and thus, encourage 100,000 people to join him in heaven. Tom said this had become his new purpose in life.

Tom asked me and the young man I was visiting with if we would consider joining him in reaching FIVE and being a part of his 20,000!   

“Consider it done, Tom,” we said.

So, I am committed right now to reaching FIVE people and doing what I can to make sure they are in heaven someday. If you are reading this, I am extending an invitation to you to join me in reaching FIVE people to make sure they know they will be in heaven with us one day.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I’m in. How about you?

Pastor Ken 


Monday, November 28, 2016

My initial thoughts on the tragedy that took place on the OSU campus today

1.     One phone call or one text message could change your life
I was in the midst of a staff meeting when my phone started lighting up with messages regarding the campus tragedy. I can assure you none of the victims today woke up anticipating the events that would unfold a few hours later.

Take away = be sure we are living in a state of readiness. 


2.     Always pray
After I read the first message, I stopped our meeting and we prayed for the situation and all of the people involved. You don’t need to know all the details of a particular situation or circumstance to stop and go to the Lord in prayer. Little did I know it would be hours later that I would hear one of the victims attends Cypress Church on a regular basis.   

Take away = be sure we are talking to the Lord on a regular basis so we don’t have to introduce ourselves when tragedy strikes. I was thankful to have already spent time in His Word and time in prayer early this morning.


3.     Is evil or mental illness to blame?
I don’t know any of the details yet on the alleged assailant. I don’t know if this attack was provoked out of religious reasons, mental illness, or some form of retribution. What I do know is that no matter what the motivation behind these actions may have been, they were not of God, at least not the God of scripture as described in the Holy Bible. Evil exist in this world. 

Take away = there literally is a battle of good vs. evil going on and lives and relationships do hang in the balance. I believe more than ever Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.


4.     Groups walk with us through life
One of the things I have heard repeatedly about the individual who attends Cypress is that he and his wife were connected. They were connected to people they did life with at Cypress. My point is they invested in relationships. Guess who is leading the way in caring for this family…exactly, those who they are in relationship with.

Take away = keep teaching how important it is to invest in relationships. Groups is where we grow and where we are cared for.


5.     Jesus is the hope of the world!
Just like the angels declared a couple thousand years ago, hope has come and He has a name - Jesus Christ! 

Take away = so much in this world does not matter. There are a few things that really do and it all revolves around a relationship with Jesus Christ. 


Be busy loving and sharing the hope of the world. They are looking, especially in the Columbus area in these days.

Pastor Ken

#relentlesslove 


Monday, October 24, 2016

NAVY SEAL LEADERSHIP
Part 2


Last week I talked about one of the best leadership books I’ve read in a long time, Extreme Ownership. I pulled out four leadership lessons from the book and taught them to our staff at cypresschurch.tv. Today is Part 2 from the last half of the book.

Here is what stood out to me:

1. Grasp the Power of Simplicity
Everything in life has layers of complexity. When life gets complicated, simple things are easy to remember and complex equations get lost in the shuffle. As a leader you must communicate in a clear, concise, simple manner. It’s easier to remember one or two main points, than 15 sub-important topics.

2. Prioritize & Execute
The authors described how in the “heat of the battle” as different scenarios are all playing out simultaneously, it is easy for a soldier to become overwhelmed in the moment and hesitate or freeze. There can be devastating effects to their life and wellbeing as well as the other members of the team. The objective of the mission can be adversely impacted as well.

One of the great responsibilities of leadership is to prioritize what is most important to the team accomplishing the mission, and then directing resources (people, time, money) to see that the objective is complete. I thought the authors made a great point when they described the relationship of thinking ahead and planning as related to prioritizing and executing.

“A particularly effective means to help Prioritize & Execute under pressure is to stay least a step or two ahead of real-time problems. Through careful contingency planning, a leader can anticipate likely challenges that could arise during execution and map out an effective response to those challenges before they happen.” (page 161)
3. Lead Down the Chain & Up the Chain
Leading down the chain involves clear and SIMPLE instruction of the mission and teaching how this particular mission helps fulfill the greater objective.

Leading up the chain is all about helping those whom we report to, so they can better grasp “situational awareness.” The question we must ask is, “What does my boss need to know in order for their confidence to grow in me as I do my job. What does my boss need to know in order to feel good about the allocation of resources to enable me to do my job more effectively?” Extreme Ownership people take this responsibility upon themselves to be sure their boss is up-to-date and in-the-loop.

4. The Disciplined Way is the Way to Real Freedom… for Individuals & Teams
Being disciplined seems, at first glance, to be restricting by nature. In actuality, discipline is the very thing that provides freedom. As teams become more disciplined in their functioning, it allows the team members and the team (as a whole) to function more efficiently. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) are the tracks that allow the train to roll! The Navy Seals live according to a disciplined methodology in everything they do. Otherwise, life is left up to being a free-for-all of individuality that combats one another rather than strengthening one another.

Final Thoughts:

A couple weeks ago my wife, Serena, and I went to visit our oldest son at college for his birthday. As we were walking across the campus, he asked me how old I was when I felt like I had “figured it out” in regards to understanding the Bible, leadership and teaching. As I thought about his question, my mind had a million thoughts that ran through it in about two seconds and then I said, “I don’t know. All I can tell you is that I’m 46 years old and I know I haven’t gotten there yet. I wake up each day knowing I need to learn something new if I’m going to keep growing to draw closer to Christ and be more useful for Christ.”

Leadership is heart & skill. It is art & science. It is really simple, but it is not easy.

Continue on your journey and see that the mission is accomplished.

Pastor Ken



Thursday, October 13, 2016

NAVY SEAL LEADERSHIP 
Part 1

A couple of weeks ago a friend recommended a book on the New York Times Best Sellers List called, Extreme Ownership. It’s about two highly trained Navy Seals who led teams and missions in Ramadi, Iraq. Today they teach leadership development to businesses around the world from the lessons gleaned from their Seal experiences. It’s incredibly fascinating!

Here are four key points I taught this week during a leadership development meeting with our staff. I thought you might benefit as well.

1. Layered leadership accomplishes the mission

It’s not the generals at the top who “win” the objective of a mission, it’s the boots on the ground. This is so true for every organization. Great leadership must happen at every level to win at the front line. Great leadership organizes teams ensuring their leaders are training and passing the message and mission to their team members. Seals are divided into sub teams of 8 or 4; each team always has a leader who is in charge of the sub team.

Wherever you find yourself on the team, lead well. Your team members and the mission are counting on you!

2. There are no bad teams, just bad leaders.

Ouch! Human nature always has a tendency to point fingers and blame others when things don’t go well. One of the mantras drilled into the mindset of a Navy Seal is to “OWN EVERYTHING.” If you are the leader and the team didn’t perform well, it’s not their fault, it’s yours.
"When subordinates aren’t doing what they should, leaders that exercise Extreme Ownership cannot blame the subordinates. They must first look in the mirror at themselves. The leader bears full responsibility for explaining the strategic mission, developing the tactics, and securing the training and resources to enable the team to properly and successfully execute…if an individual on the team is not performing at the level required for the team to succeed, the leader must train and mentor that underperformer. But if the underperformer continually fails to meet standards, then a leader who exercises Extreme Ownership must be loyal to the team and the mission above any individual. If underperformers cannot improve, the leader must make the tough call to terminate them and hire others who can get the job done. It is all on the leader." (page 30)
3. It’s not what you preach, but what you tolerate that becomes the standard and norm.

Setting expectations (either in writing or verbally) is the easiest thing in the world to do. Measuring and confirming that expectations are consistently met is where it becomes difficult. Accountability and consequences must be in place in order to maintain team morale and a high standard of achievement. The Navy Seals take this very seriously because people live or die based on decisions they make. Each of us must determine “how big a deal” something is before we commit and invest our lives into it. I happen to work at a church (cypresschurch.tv) and we believe our work can have a direct influence on whether a person chooses life or death.

4. In order for soldiers to be at their best, they must believe in the mission and understand why.

The authors talk about a difficult time when their General changed the rules of engagement requiring that Iraqi soldiers would accompany the Navy Seals on their missions. There was significant resistant from the Navy Seals until it was fully explained “why” this decision was made. It was explained that the Iraqi soldiers were shadowing the Navy Seals to learn from them because once they pulled out of Iraq, the Iraqi soldiers would be charged to maintain peace and order. Once the why was explained, morale immediately increased and the execution of the mission rose to a new level of effectiveness.

How many times in life and organizations are decisions made but explanations of why are never given? Or questions arise from the front line but are never answered? Until you clearly explain the why, you will never have the full support needed from your team to carry out the mission.

--------------------------

I am incredibly grateful for the brave men and women who serve to keep us safe at all times and in all places. Thank you to all the Armed Forces for modeling and teaching incredible lessons in leadership to better accomplish our mission.

Pastor Ken


Monday, June 20, 2016

5 Things I Learned After the Cavs Game Last Night




Hi everyone! After yelling at the television last night, here are 5 things I learned during this crazy and incredible championship series. I hope it’s an encouragement and challenge to you! 

1. DON'T EVER LET HISTORY OR EXPERTS TELL YOU THAT YOU CAN'T DO SOMETHING


When the series was 3-1 and the Warriors were up, EVERYONE was saying there is no way the Cavs will come back and there is NO WAY the Cavs will win because it's NEVER been done in the history of the NBA. Well, they did it and it happened!

2. IT TAKES A TEAM TO WIN

The main job that Tristan Thompson (the big guy for the Cavs) had was to play defense, box out, grab boards (rebounds for non-bball folks
J) and not worry about scoring. When asked in a post-game interview why he was so willing to do the dirty work, he answered, "This is my starring role."

Bottom line: Every person has a starring role on the team. When each one knows their role, owns their role and performs their role, the team wins.

3. STATISTICS DON'T ALWAYS TELL THE TRUE STORY BUT OVERALL STATISTICS CAN TELL YOU THE STORY

Steve Kerr, head coach of the Warriors, was asked about his two big players only scoring one point combined. Steve's response was, "I don't evaluate the success of my players based on a stat sheet. They did what they were supposed to do.”

Bottom line: Lebron James led both teams in nearly ALL offensive stats. Stats can be important but you need to make sure you look at them the right way.

4. LEADERS LEAD

Leadership is hard and it take a lot of work every day. Lebron James led in the off season, he put in hard work and led off camera and off the court which allowed him to be the leader in the most highly watched game in NBA history. To be a great leader you need to be leading during the "off season" when no one is watching and no one is cheering you on so that you are ready to lead yourself and your team to things that no one thought was possible.

5. A CLEARLY DEFINED WIN HELPS EVERYONE KNOW IF YOU'VE WON


It's been 52 years since the Cavs have won a championship. That's what I love about sports, you either win or you lose. It's very clear. No matter what you do, it's important to define what the "win" is and make sure everyone clearly knows what they are working toward.

It's the exact same thing for the church. What's the clearly defined win for the church? Are more people being saved and more people being transformed?

Now if only the Browns could…never mind, some things may require a miracle
J

Pastor Ken




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

FIVE reasons why your NEXT STEP is so important...

How important is the NEXT STEP in your journey?

If you were standing on the edge of a cliff and the NEXT STEP would put you over the edge, then the next step is a matter of life and death!

If you were on the verge of dying of thirst and the NEXT STEP would put you into a pool of cool refreshing water, then the next step would be life sustaining!

So where are you on your journey and what’s the right NEXT STEP for you?

I’ve been thinking about 1 Corinthians 2:9 recently.
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Let me share 5 reasons why your NEXT STEP is important.


  1. God has prepared a good plan for your life but, if you don’t take steps of obedience and faith, you may never receive or live out what He has in store!
  2. You can’t walk into the future without taking steps today to lead you there. This is true in our relationships, careers, spiritual lives, etc.
  3. Your next step may not be the final destination of the cliff of destruction or a life giving pool of water, but your next step takes you one step closer. Choose wisely.
  4. God may have things prepared not only FOR YOU, but things he longs to do THROUGH YOU! Another person’s life/death moment may be dependent upon you taking the right step today.
  5. When we move, God is able to guide, lead and direct us. I heard years ago it’s difficult for God to steer a parked car! But when we are moving and yielded, the Lord can guide and steer us to the place he wants us to be. 
So what’s the NEXT STEP for you to take today?
Baptism?
Join a serving team?
Look for a group to belong to?
Check out the Cypress Grove City launch team?
Start a daily devotional plan?

Stop by MY NEXT STEPS area after church this next weekend- we would love to help lead you to your next step in the journey God has laid out for you!

Remember, it’s a day-by-day process to becoming the people God longs for us to become!

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Pastor Ken