Thursday, March 29, 2018

‘Twas the night before … Easter services at Cypress

I pray your week is going great so far! No doubt for some it is and we celebrate with you. For others this week has brought familiar, or unexpected, challenges your way. Know we are praying for you, and our ministry team at Cypress is here to walk with you.

The events of this week, over 2,000 years ago, changed the world forever. You can read about the final days of Christ’s life, and the events of the cross and His resurrection, in the four gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John).

Whether you are newer to your journey of faith, or you’ve traveled the road with Christ for generations, we are praying this Easter you will experience Christ in a new and personal way. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world;” which is true, but He personalized it for YOU! You are the reason He came. The reason He died and the reason He was resurrected...for you and for your friends!

There are 5 things I want to remind you about as we head into Easter weekend:

  1. He did this for you.
    Take some time and just sit and think about this fact. It will change you.

  2. He did this for your friends. 
    Invite and bring them with you. ONE invitation could change a life, or a family forever
    HERE for social-media shareable invites.

  3. Partner with us in prayer.
    Pray with us and for us, for the Lord to do what only He can. Prayer makes the difference.

  4. Partner with us on service times.
    Changing your “normal service time” for Easter weekend is an easy way to partner with us to reach others for Christ. If you normally attend the AD campus on Sunday morning (9:30 or 11am), we would love to see you at the Sunday morning 8am or 12:30pm service, or during the Friday or Saturday service times. If that doesn’t work, we will see you Sunday at your normal time:) The Dublin and Grove City campuses each have three services this weekend too.
    Click HERE
     for service times and locations.

  5. THANK YOU to our Volunteers!
    You are heroes of the faith. We could not do what we do for Christ without YOU!! 
I am so looking forward to this Easter weekend!
Pastor Ken

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Update on Serena's Dad, Denny Brown

So many of you have asked for an update on Serena’s dad and how you can be praying, so we wanted to update everyone with the most recent information. 

  • Thank you so much for caring and reaching out. We preach that relationships make a difference, but we have been witnesses of this truth in the last 10 days.
  • Over the last few months, Denny had been having some bouts of confusion, but many of us do. It is becoming apparent, as we help sort through things, that Denny knew something was going on because he began finalizing his personal affairs early this summer.
  • Two weeks ago, Denny was walking an hour each day, lifting weights every other day, and enjoying retirement, but on July 21 he became very disoriented and nauseated. He called his internal medicine doctor who asked him to come to his office immediately but, as soon as the doctor saw Denny, he sent him directly to the hospital.
  • After a week of tests in the hospital, including two spinal taps and finally a brain biopsy, it was determined that Denny has a Glioblastoma Multiforme. John McCain has helped this type of cancer become more well-known lately, yet the significant difference is our “Papa’s” cancer has spread throughout his entire brain whereas Senator McCain’s was a singular central mass. Surgery, chemo, and radiation are not options for Denny.
  • After careful and prayerful consultation with many doctors, Denny was moved to a hospice facility yesterday. It appears Denny will be meeting Jesus face-to-face within the next couple of weeks. His mind and health have decreased significantly in the past two weeks because of the fast growth of the tumor but when we shared with him the results of the biopsy and what the doctors said about treatment, he said he understood and he’s ready to meet Jesus whenever that time comes. It’s a very sad time but Denny’s very evident faith in Jesus and heaven gives us hope.

Continue to pray for Denny and our entire family during this difficult time (his wife, Sharon; his son, Sam; and our boys, Jackson, Mac and Peyton). 

P.S. It has been interesting to watch so many friends come by to visit Denny. He has been president and CEO of several large companies throughout his career but, what is interesting is, not one person has been talking about his business expertise, instead, every person comments on how he made them feel and their special relationship. RELATIONSHIPS really do matter. 

Tell someone you love them today and enjoy every minute.

Thank you so much for praying for us and loving us. 

We love you,
Ken & Serena 

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!

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


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