Journey Update

Journey Family, 


Starting tomorrow both our 9 and 10:45 services will be live streamed.  We also will be meeting at Journey.  You can join us in person or join us through the live stream.  The live stream can be found on Facebook (Follow our page named Journey Elgin or click the link below)


or YouTube (Follow our page named Journey Elgin Church or click the link below)


We are obviously dealing with unique and challenging times.  There is clearly a risk from this new virus our society now has to account for. Also, the reaction to this virus is causing and being used to cause division.  Division and disunity are powerful tools the enemy uses to attack the Body of Christ.  Every pastor and church I know are struggling with how best to move forward in the current circumstances.  This event will pose a huge challenge for all churches and many will be overcome by the division that will result.  With all of this being said, I wanted to briefly explain why we are slowly opening tomorrow.


First, I know that not everyone will agree this is the right time to open.  I understand this completely.  I don’t know when the perfect time to open is.  There are those who think we should wait until a vaccine is available and there are those who think we should have been meeting a month ago.  I understand there is a risk in opening.  I have always seen this pandemic as a new risk that we are going to be dealing with for the rest of our lives, just as we all continue to have to deal with the Flu that caused a pandemic in 1918.  I believe we needed to take extensive measures to keep our health systems from being overwhelmed and thankfully we have been able to do that.  Our health systems are much better equipped now than two months ago.  Again, this does not mean that there is no risk in meeting. We are letting you decide when the risk is low enough for you and your family.  This will be different for everyone.  You are not a weak person if you are not ready to meet in person and you are not brave or strong just because you are ready to gather in person.  There are so many factors that play into this decision.  Your family is the best authority to determine when you will join us again in person.  

We all have to understand that every family connected with Journey will have differing thoughts on this and they are not right or wrong.  If we start treating those with differing opinions as the enemy our church will be torn apart.  Thankfully, we can choose to worship together and respect each other’s decisions.

Secondly, this means we need to move forward responsibly.  Tomorrow morning when you enter the building please wash your hands or use some of the sanitizer provided.  When you enter the worship area, sit with your family (we have removed some chairs so we are a little more spread out). We will not have children’s worship at this time so bring your kids into worship with you.  Please be smart and respectful and don’t assume everyone wants a hug.  

Finally, we are trusting you to make the best decision for you and your family.  If you are more at risk, please worship with us from the comfort of your living room.  My prayer is that through this pandemic we will grow more unified in spite of our many differing opinions.  We can all disagree on the perfect path forward (because there is no perfect path forward) and still be unified in Christ.  Let us show respect for each other as we all move forward through these chaotic times and hold on to the unity found in Christ.


Journey to Jerusalem: Washing Feet

                                                               Washing Feet
                                                                John 13:1-17

Jesus’ Journey to Jerusalem has now reached the tipping point. The celebration of the Passover is a central point of the Jewish faith and key to understanding what Jesus was doing.  The Gospel of John shares an amazing detail about the last supper Jesus would share with his disciples.  This detail involves an uncomfortable subject; feet.  I usually do not spend much time thinking about feet, but when I do I must confess that the words “No Trespassing” come to mind.  I am not sure when or how I developed such an aversion to having someone mess with my feet.  During my childhood, my Dad would wrestle with my brother, two sisters, and myself.  Perhaps holding us down and tickling our feet left a permanent mark deep within me.  Or maybe I cannot shake the thought of the many times one of my three precious girls would come and tickle my feet while I was peacefully resting in the permanent indention of my recliner.  The thought of their little eyes peering over the foot rest brings warmth to my heart and yet confirms the reality of how much I dislike people messing with my feet.

I have always assumed that because I do not want someone touching my feet all others felt the same way.  I was mistaken.  During each of my wife’s pregnancies, I was asked, begged, or coerced, depending on your perspective, into massaging her feet.  I must admit this was not easy for me.  I understand that she was uncomfortable and miserable, but can I just go get the stereotypical pickles and ice cream at 1 AM?  After weighing my options, I decided that a few foot massages were probably deserved under the circumstances brought about by pregnancy.  Ultimately, my love for my wife overcame my phobia of feet and made getting out of my comfort zone bearable and even rewarding.  I knew that this simple act helped make the pregnancy more endurable for my wife.  Even in this simple act of massaging my wife’s feet I realized that there was nothing I would not do for her because of the love I have for her and she has for me.

All of this talk about feet leads us into one of the most powerful acts Jesus performed, and there was not one miracle to be found.  John 13:1-17 is the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.  Imagine what the disciples must have been thinking when Jesus, the Messiah, takes off his outer clothes, wraps a towel around his waist and proceeds to reach for their rough, dirty and smelly feet.  These feet were stained with the dirt from the roads of Jerusalem Jesus and the disciples had recently walked. Just a few days before Jesus entered the city to cries of “Hosanna” and “Blessed is the king of Israel.”  Now this king, this Messiah is bowing before them and washing their feet.  As Jesus scrubs and cleans the disciples’ feet, his hands are covered with the dirt and grime built up after the miles of walking.  The “King of kings,” “Lord of lords,” humbling himself to take up the work of a common slave.  The silence in the room must have been deafening, only broken by the splashing of water.  Surely the disciples simply sat in awe of what they were experiencing and witnessing.  Jesus, washing each of their feet, even the feet of the one who would commit the ultimate act of betrayal.

When Jesus finishes, he no doubt has the complete attention of the disciples, and he says, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (13:14-15).  This last week of Jesus’ life was not just about defeating sin and death.  Jesus is showing the disciples and us what living a life in Christ is all about.  Jesus is demonstrating the true nature what following him is all about; serving.  We are called to serve God which means we serve others.  Jesus does not simply talk about serving or give some spiritual, mystical definition of what serving means.  Jesus physically serves through the washing of feet and ultimately through giving his body to be crucified.  If this is the example the Savior of the world gives to use, what does that mean for us?

As Christians we are called to serve as Jesus served.  This means we get our hands dirty.  Serving as Christ served will take us to places where we are out of our comfort zone.  We should not settle for talking about serving or simply applauding when others serve, we need to grab a rag and start washing feet.  This may mean going to people overlooked by society and offering them the love of Christ through serving them.  One thing is clear, when we serve as Jesus served our hands will get dirty.

Our first thought may be that we can never serve as Christ, but when we open our hearts to the amazing love Christ has shown us through his mighty acts of service we find ourselves compelled to respond.  God’s gracious love motivates and strengthens us to live the life of a servant.  Are you getting your hands dirty for God?


Journey to Jerusalem: Whose Authority

Whose Authority?
Luke 20

            Jesus has now entered into Jerusalem, but his journey is not yet complete.  Jesus soon will be arrested, nailed onto the cross and then rise again; but until then, he spends time teaching and interacting with the people.  Early in the week the religious leaders and Jesus get into what can only be described as ‘heated’ debates.  Maybe there were no yelling matches or instances of people throwing their shoes at each other, but these interactions were intense.  The religious leaders become so angry; they solidify a plan to have Jesus murdered.  They do all they can to try and trick Jesus into saying something to turn the crowd against him.  One topic they tried to use was authority.

            Luke 20 begins with the religious leaders attacking Jesus’ authority.  They tried to get him to say something inflammatory by asking him whose authority he was preaching and healing.  If Jesus would have said he was the Messiah under God’s authority, they would have screamed blasphemy.  If Jesus would have said he was just a man, they would have dismissed him and discredited him to the crowd.  Jesus, of course, does not walk into this trap and asks about John’s baptism.  The crowd considered John a prophet and John had identified Jesus as being sent by God.  The religious leaders found themselves in the exact same trap they had tried to set.  If they agreed John was a prophet, they would have to accept what John said about Jesus. If they disagreed that John was a prophet, the crowd would turn on them.  So, they took the ever popular politically correct response and said, ‘next question.’ The religious leaders did not want to risk losing the authority they had.

            Throughout Luke 20, the religious leaders try to diminish Jesus’ authority and Jesus responds by elevating God’s authority over theirs.  This issue of authority was vital.  Whoever or whatever you give authority to in your life will influence your behavior.  For example, if a student acknowledges the authority of their teacher, they will behave very differently than if they do not.  Same goes with police officers, political leaders, etc.  Unfortunately, we have reached a place where we tend to acknowledge someone’s authority only if we agree with them.

            There is a temptation for us only to give authority to God in certain areas of our life.  Those areas where we agree with his teaching and perspective.  The religious leaders did not appreciate the Jesus’ version of being the Messiah, so they discredited his authority.  What are the areas in our lives we discredit God’s authority?  Do we try to remove certain behaviors or personal beliefs from being under God’s authority?  They answer is probably yes.  Part of maturing in Christ means putting everything under God’s authority. 

            I encourage each of us to look into our own lives and allow God to reveal to us what areas we keep under our own authority.  This is not an easy process and you may find this introspection challenging.  Those areas of your life you try to control the most may be an indication of an area you have not fully put under God’s authority.  A life lived under the sole authority of God brings true freedom.


Journey to Jerusalem: A Hard Truth

A Hard Truth

Luke 10-19


            Jesus’ Journey to Jerusalem has now begun.  He and his disciples are making their way to Jerusalem where Jesus will enter, on what we now celebrate as Palm Sunday.  Jesus’ entering into Jerusalem begins the most impactful event of Jesus’ life; His death and resurrection.  The vast majority of our focus as a church and society revolve around what happens during this week.  The cross represents both a call to repentance and an extension of unbelievable grace.  As our culture’s typical response, we usually focus on only one aspect at the expense of the other. 

There are those individuals, churches and denominations who tend to focus on the cross’s call to repentance.  They typically see the lack of remorse and minimization of sin within our culture and respond by emphasizing the evil of sin and the desperate need for everyone to seek forgiveness.  This is not a popular stance to take, so there is naturally push back from both people of faith as well as those who have no concern for God.  This push back comes in the form of accusations of judgementalism and bigotry.  The grace and love Jesus represented will be thrown back in the face of those who make a call to repentance.  This response only causes those focused more on repentance to double down and move even further away from the cross’s extension of grace.

On the other hand, there are those individuals, churches and denominations who have moved away from talking about sin and judgement.  Their focus becomes the love, forgiveness and grace Jesus expressed throughout his life and ultimately exemplified on the cross.  This message of a loving God who spreads his grace throughout the world is a wonderful message to share.  Most people will not push back against this message.  The danger of this extreme is that making people feel good and liking our message can become the goal, rather than sharing the truth of the Gospel message. 

The truth of the Gospel message and the message of the cross is both the need for repentance and the acceptance of unmerited grace.  As Jesus makes his journey to Jerusalem his teaching obviously reflects the true Gospel message. His teachings are not easy and at times are very confrontational.  If you read the Gospel of Luke from chapter 10 thru 19 honestly, you will surely be made uncomfortable.  Jesus’ teachings do not fit into our preferred nice cookie cutter message.

I challenge you to read through these chapters in Luke.  Let’s be honest, you have plenty of time on your hands.  Listen to what Jesus teaches.  His message is not easy and will not make everyone happy or feel good.  Jesus’ message acknowledges sin and evil in the world and at the same time offers love and forgiveness.  Jesus’ teaching show how he pursues us and desires for all to come to know him.  These teachings also address choosing our own way and not accepting the need for repentance.

As we Journey to Jerusalem together let’s not fall into the trap of believing or sharing the easy Gospel message.  The easy message takes only one aspect of the cross at the expense of the other.  This is very common in our culture today.  We are a society moving to the extremes and we are becoming more and more uncomfortable living in the middle.  The true Gospel message will leave you in tension.  Embrace the tension and beauty of a Gospel message teaching both unmerited grace and the importance of repentance.


Blog Post: Journey to Jerusalem

Beginning a Journey
Matthew 16:21-28 and Luke 9:21-27

            We are quickly approaching the biggest and most attended Sunday of the year.  Of course, this year our attendance takers can have the week off and google analytics will provide an official count.  No matter where you worship or even if you worship, the events of surrounding Easter have changed the world.  The impact of that first Easter morning is felt by everyone.  World history would be forever changed in light of this amazing event.  Over the next few days let’s take some time to look at Jesus as he makes his way to Jerusalem.  What does he talk about? What’s his demeanor? What does he do? 

            This Journey to Jerusalem begins to get very real and focused when Jesus begins talking to his disciples about death.  I know, I know, Jesus’ journey began in a manger surrounded by shepherds, but our focus begins when Jesus fully turns his eye toward Jerusalem and the events that will unfold.  This journey begins in Matthew 16 and Luke 9 when Jesus predicts his death for the first time. 

This seems like an odd way to begin a journey to the most significant event in human history.  Most of us would begin such an important journey by rallying support and building up anticipation.  Perhaps we would slowly unveil a great marketing campaign designed to draw people in and create excitement.  I am not a great marketer, but I do know that starting your campaign with ‘I am going to suffer many things and then die, so grab your suffering cross and join me!,’ does not tend to get good results.  Jesus may be the worst marketer and event planner ever!  What was he thinking?

Why didn’t Jesus start off with saying something like this: ‘Do you want to find purpose and meaning? Follow me to Jerusalem! Do you want to find hope and peace? Follow Me! Do you want new life and victory? Follow my lead!’

This is the marketing pattern we prefer; a promise we can get what we want without mentioning the reality of how this is achieved.  Even Peter reflects this in his response to Jesus.  He assures Jesus that this suffering will not happen.  Jesus responds in a fairly direct and extreme way by saying, “Get behind me, Satan!” Clearly Peter did not understand Jesus’ methods or way of thinking.  We easily fall into this trap as well.

Jesus tells his disciples true life is found in taking up a cross.  This is not an easy way to finding fulfillment and purpose, but it is the only way.  Jesus knows life will be full of challenges for each of us. Yes, this will include suffering.  There is nothing you can do to avoid this in your life.  Aren’t you glad we have a God who acknowledges this truth from the beginning?  The reality of life being challenging is not in the fine print. Jesus is up front about the difficult road we all will walk. 

This journey to Jerusalem begins with Jesus being brutally honest with us.  Life will have times of pain and suffering.  Jesus himself will experience suffering in unimaginable detail.  Jesus doesn’t want us to have the misconception everything will be easy if we just follow him.  He wants us to know new life is found through the suffering.  Choosing to follow Jesus each and every day leads to experiencing victory in the midst of a challenging world.   

Are we willing to choose to live the life Jesus has called us to live?  This is a life that will not be easy, but will lead to fulfillment, purpose and meaning in spite of life’s challenges. Guess what, no other way of life is easy either; they just eventually lead to frustration, anger and a desire for more.  Take up the way of Jesus by taking your cross and walking toward victory.


Blog: Thoughts on Thankfulness-Everyone has a Story, November 16, 2019

Everyone Has a Story


Psalm 107:4-9


We all have a story to tell.  One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a pastor is getting to hear people’s stories.  Sometimes they are stories of heartbreak and suffering.  Other times the stories are of victory and redemption.  The more stories I hear, the more I realize how much humanity has in common.  Yes, all the stories are unique, but there are common threads running through all of our stories.  We have all experienced highs and lows, justice and injustice, fairness and unfairness, suffering and joy.  How these events and emotions manifest in each of our lives is unique, but we all experience them one way or the other. 

            No circumstance you may face is outside the reach of God’s presence.  At times you will feel like you are all alone and no one could have possibly had to endure what you are going through.  This is a real feeling, but an untrue reality.  God continually offers His presence to those going through the most difficult times of life.  Psalm 107 begins by giving thanks for the Lord’s goodness and His love enduring forever.  Then the psalmist begins to tell stories of redemption and hope.

            At what point in your life have you felt like you were walking in a desert wasteland.  Walking in circles with no purpose or direction, knowing that eventually you would not be able to walk any further.  You fear the desert will overwhelm you and suck you beneath the sand.  We live in a time where culture has defined our destination, but that destination is only a mirage.  Our culture says that our purpose, meaning and happiness will be found by following our heart’s desire.  We are encouraged to pursue wealth, popularity, and comfort.  These things in and of themselves are not bad, but when they define our meaning and purpose, they become devious and deceptive.  Even if we are able to achieve these things, we find they are only a mirage giving the image of happiness, but quickly fading into the horizon.

            God created us in His image, and He is the source of our meaning and purpose.  If we want to experience the destination of joy, peace, love, and fulfillment we must follow the path of the Creator.  There will be times in your life you are wandering in the desert in search of meaning and purpose.  Make sure you look to the God who loves you to find your way and not cultural expectations.  We can all be thankful for God’s presence in the desert. 


Sunday Snippets: November 17, 2019

Sunday Songs:
Scripture Reading
Home Church signups are open! Sign up at the table under the stairs.
Bring your Operation Christmas Child box by this Sunday.  Donations for shipping costs can be put in the Operation Christmas Child box on the entry table.
November 24-Christmas Decoration party
December 8-Church at the Christmas Tree Farm
December 14- Salvation Army Kettle Bell Ringing
December 22- Christmas Candlelight Service
Journey has a Spotify playlist of Sunday worship songs. You can find the list here.


Blog: Thoughts on Thankfulness in Psalm 107-Part 1

Thanksgiving Thoughts


Psalm 107:1-3


Well, Fall certainly took the scenic view to arrive this year, but Fall has officially arrived.  In early October, I was still watching football games on Friday night in what felt like a convection oven.  The last few Friday nights I have tossed away all shame and huddled under a blanket and worn a hoodie.  I love Fall.  So many things begin to change. The landscape changes and the cool mornings and evenings are tremendously rejuvenating.  In addition to the changing weather, I also love the fact Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  I love Thanksgiving.  I don’t particularly love turkey, but when eaten with family at Thanksgiving the turkey always tastes better. 

I could easily get on my soap box and talk about how culturally we have skipped over Thanksgiving and gone straight for the consumeristic celebration of secularized Christmas. I could easily make the case that we should boycott all stores who put out Christmas stuff in October (of course we would not be able to go anywhere).  I could easily bemoan the reality of hearing Christmas music in November, and I could whine about all of the Christmas movies already flooding Netflix and my DVR que at home.  Thankfully, I will not bore you with my soap box; anyway, where was I?

Thanksgiving is awesome!  We have so much to be thankful for and yet we have perfected the art of being ungrateful.  This month let’s start a habit of being grateful that will permeate our lives from here on out.  To help us in this process we are going to look at Psalm 107.  Each week we will work through more of the Psalm.


Take a few moments and read Psalm 107:1-3.


Have you taken some time lately to reflect on the ways God is good?  Have you become so consumed with the problems of the world and the false reality portrayed in social media you skip over the good surrounding us?  I encourage you to start being thankful for the small things that may seem insignificant; ice cream, left over Halloween candy, a cool breeze, a warm ray of sunshine, the smile of a friend, hearing a good song at just the right time, etc.

After getting warmed up in being thankful, start to think more broadly across your life.  How has God been good to you?  How has His love endured throughout the ups and downs of your life?  This can be painful, because we naturally remember the difficult times of life and we typically don’t want to relive the pain and suffering associated with those points in our life.  Sometimes the most amazing examples of God’s goodness are found when we look back openly and honestly at the storms of our life. 

Being thankful and looking for how God was good through the storms of our life is a helpful way to find healing from the results of the storm.  I have tried to be very intentional about doing this when I think about the storms of my life.  I find being thankful helps to push out the bitterness, anger and hurt the storms of life typically bring.  Now, rather than negative feelings overwhelming me when I think about past struggles, I am able to rejoice in God’s presence through the storms. 

Psalm 107 begins by encouraging the people of God to tell their story of redemption, hope, and victory.  As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving let us all remember our stories of God’s goodness and love.


Sunday Snippets: October 10, 2019

Songs for this Sunday:
Home Churches are up and meeting.  The Christiansen and Bryant group meet on the 1st and 3rd Sunday each month and the Bornowski group meets on 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month.  Childcare is provided for the Bornowski group.  Sign up at any time to get involved. 
Bring your Operation Christmas Child box this Sunday if possible, Nov 17 is the last chance.  Donations for shipping costs can be put in the Operation Christmas Child box on the entry table.
November 24-Christmas Decoration party
December 8-Church at the Christmas Tree Farm
December 14- Salvation Army Kettle Bell Ringing
Journey has a Spotify playlist of Sunday worship songs. You can find the list here.


Sunday Snippets: November 3, 2019

Sunday Songs:
Scripture Reading
Home Church signups are open! Sign up at the table under the stairs.
Bring your Operation Christmas Child box by November 10.  Donations for shipping costs can be put in the Operation Christmas Child box on the entry table.
November 24-Christmas Decoration party
December 8-Church at the Christmas Tree Farm
December 14- Salvation Army Kettle Bell Ringing
Journey has a Spotify playlist of Sunday worship songs. You can find the list here.