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


Monday, October 24, 2016

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 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

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 ( 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! 


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!


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.


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.


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.


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

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?
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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Weekend Recap!

I am so excited and thankful about what God is up to, that I had to write a recap from the weekend! Since this past weekend when we announced some initiatives to fulfill our vision, 16 people have come to Christ!

Here's the recap of the Four Initiatives we have been praying about and spending time listening to God’s leading and direction, in the coming year.

  1. We want to see more people come to faith in Christ and be baptized than we’ve ever seen before.
  2. We will develop and support more local community partnerships that make a difference where people live.
  3. We will see more people connect to a place where they can grow and be cared for (a small group) and to a place where they can make a difference (a serving team).
  4. We will launch our next campus this year...Cypress Grove City! (read my blog on why and how we do campuses at Cypress -

What stood out to me from the weekend?
  • We are going to be used by God to be a part of something great for Him which includes more and more people coming to Christ and taking steps to follow Him in Columbus, Ohio!

    God made each and every person on purpose and for a purpose. (Ephesians 2:10) Twenty-four hours after the Grove City campus announcement, there were over 70 families already interested in joining the campus!

    Are you ready and willing to be used by God?

  • People are ready to respond to Christ.
    One of my highlights from the weekend was when two younger men (in their early 20’s) walked to the front after a service and one of them said, “I’m ready to give my life to Christ- could you help me with that?” My response was, “Yes I can!” I shared the message of Christ, what it means to be a follower of Christ and then I had the privilege of praying with this young man as he crossed over from death to life! (John 3:16)

    AND Monday night at Discover Cypress, 15 PEOPLE turned to Christ to trust their life to him and commit to become a follower! (Acts 2:47)

    Who are you inviting to a Cypress campus? Who are you inviting to join your small
    group? Who are you leading in your small group?

  • People respond when you ask them to join you.
    I loved hearing Debbie's story this past weekend. If you missed it, be sure to listen Debbie's Story. Yes, Debbie took steps, opened herself up to God and has been on an amazing spiritual journey. But what if Kelly had never invited Debbie to church? What if Kelly had stopped inviting after the first time? Debbie said it quickly, but did you catch it…Kelly invited her for OVER A YEAR before she said yes! Why would Kelly do that? Because she loved her friend. The next person who played a significant role in Debbie’s story, Barb. Barb said, "Why don’t you join me on the team I serve with?" That's all it took and the rest is history.

    Where is God calling you and using you to serve at Cypress, and in our community, to lead people to Christ and provide steps to follow Him?

The best is yet come,
Pastor Ken

Monday, April 11, 2016

I wonder if this is why people would want to go to church...

Written by Serena Murphy

Two nights ago I attended a meeting in Hilliard to represent the "faith community" for a drug awareness program. The meeting was made up of people representing Hilliard police, teachers, community sports leagues, moms who have lost kids to heroin overdoses and a Hilliard graduate who is 22 and has been in recovery for a year and a half.

During the meeting, I learned staggering facts about addiction and how our communities are getting hit hard with heroin and other drugs and how people are looking for resources for help and hope. A mom who lost her son nine months ago said to me, "I went to the local church and they didn't want to talk about it; I just don't think they knew what to do or where to send me. It's embarrassing to tell people, ask for help and to have your child in and out of recovery programs month after month, year after year. People wonder what's wrong with that family, what's wrong with you as a parent. At least you feel that way and you become so full of shame and embarrassment." I wanted to apologize on behalf of the Church and say I am so sorry she feels shameful, it’s not her fault and that I think sometimes the Church isn't "there" and ready to help. We do need to do a better job.

This has really made me think about the message we are sending as a church. People secretly tell me that their marriages are falling apart, but they don't think people understand because others have the "perfect" marriage and "perfect" children. People are struggling with many things: addiction, kids who are gay, depression, kids drinking and so on and so on. But, some of them think they can't come to church with that kind of life. One of my favorite quotes from CS Lewis is "True connection is birthed when one person says to another, ‘you, too? I thought I was the only one.’"

I wish I could put signs up and down Alton Darby Road that say, "We are not the church for perfect people." And we by no means are the perfect church. In fact, we are so imperfect. We are parents of heroin addicts. We are people who have had affairs, divorced and lied. We struggle with shame, doubt, depression and anxiety. Our kids aren't perfect and neither are our marriages. We lose our jobs and we lose loved ones. Sometimes, we may act like we are perfect and have it all together and for that we are very sorry. We don't want you to think you have to clean up your life before you enter our doors or talk to one of us in the community. We want to accept you as you are because we know what it felt like when we were accepted as we were. We want to lead you to help and hope. We want to tell you there are some of us like you here and we are on the same road as you. Some of us may be further along and some of us may not be. All of us have fallen down at some point but we all want help getting back up and taking another step. Most of us have found our only true hope is in Christ and we've learned through it all that He is our only source of hope and healing. Some of us are still searching. What most of us have realized is we can't do life on our own. You have to have people beside you who understand. And that's what we want you to know.