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Monthly December 2010
New Year’s Lenses

As we close out 2010 and prepare for 2011 I’m reminded of this idea of setting New Year’s resolutions. While striking cynicism in the hearts of some, in others it creates a sense of excitement; there’s this prospect of starting out with a fresh slate and making some positive changes. Some get a charge out of setting goals and fulfilling them while others know that it amounts to little more than short-term hype—their New Year’s resolutions are usually broken before the end of January.

Regardless of whether or not we set New Year’s resolutions, many of us unfortunately tend to believe in a future that is based on our past. We perceive that the future will hold much of the same and that little can be done in terms of intentional thinking or planning since what generally happens will happen. Those of us who don’t buy into such strict fatalism may still tend to see ourselves in terms of the past however. If we’ve had some negative experiences in the last year and attained few wins under our belts we will most likely face the future with less optimism and hope than those who have a trail lined with success.

But what if we didn’t see our future in terms of how we presently see ourselves? What if we refused to define ourselves by the past and instead looked at our future as God does?

I recently listened to Andy Stanley hit another home run with the final message in the North Point series, Game Plan. He pointed out that we tend to see our children in terms of their future and potential rather than looking at their past with all its mistakes and failures. In 1 Samuel 16 God tells Samuel that He sees not as we see. He looks at our hearts. He looks at what can be done with a heart that is fully committed to Him. He looks at our future through the lenses of redemption and restoration. God does not look at the things we look at.

So what if our heavenly Father really does see us differently than we see ourselves? What if Jeremiah 29:11 is really true? What if God really desires to prosper His children and not harm them? What if He really does have plans for us; plans that we would have a hope and a future? What if His thoughts and ways are really higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8)? Listen to the preceding verses that are filled with hope and goodwill: “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their way and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (vs. 6-7).

There is hope for our future. Even if we think we are past half-time in the game. Even if our lives have been defined by failure in the past. God does not see us as we see ourselves. He sees us in terms of redemption and restoration; in terms of our future and potential!

“My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” (Jeremiah 24:6-7)

The Either/Or Dilemma in Church World

Either we focus on getting people saved or we get caught up with a social gospel. Either it’s about nurturing people on the inside or it’s about reaching those on the outside. Some would agree with the first statement and yet disagree with the latter. We tend to say it’s both/and…we’re about discipling those on the inside while sharing the gospel with those on the outside. Yet, a common concern I’ve often heard has generally been, “If we’re not careful to maintain and protect what we already have we’ll have nothing to offer those we are attempting to reach with the Gospel.”

And furthermore, “Don’t forget about our kids!” We all know that we need a safe environment for our children. But really, how safe is the church today? Our children are exposed to insider-centered programming (see next paragraph), materialism, escapism, and a posture against change that cherishes maintenance at the expense of missional values. C.T. Studd once said that “Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell; I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell.” Which one really is safer for a living faith to be passed on to next generations?

In practical terms, simply consider how our systems and common lingo caters to those of us who are in church world. We talk knowingly about being “born again,” “saved and justified by grace”, “having a burden for the lost,” “laying on hands,” or “being the bride of Christ.” Do Christianese terms such as these make any sense to outsiders who just happen to slip through the plate glass doors on a Sunday morning? And what about normal church programming? Does it make sense to members in the club but leave outsiders confused and feeling excluded? Consider passing statements such as, “We all remember what happened to Daniel’s three friends.” What does that say to the person who never saw a Sunday School flannel graph in their life? It’s simply understood that everyone present has heard the story. If we really are honest however, what we do generally translates into a holy huddle that enjoys the warmth of the campfire while unintentionally blocking out the light for those in the shadows. Perhaps in practical terms we really do have more of an either/or approach.

And what about the social gospel? Is it an either/or issue? I think scripture is clear that Jesus had a both/and approach—he met people’s physical needs while also addressing their root spiritual issues. Yet today’s evangelicals have reacted to the social gospel and focus more on just saving people’s souls, serving their congregations, and defending the faith. British theologian John Stott lists five specific reasons why this has happened:

  1. The evangelical reaction against theological liberalism.
  2. The division of the gospel into social and spiritual categories.
  3. Evangelicals’ disillusionment with earthly life after World War I.
  4. The spread of premillenialism that emphasized a rapturous withdrawal from this evil world rather than introducing the Kingdom of heaven now.
  5. The spread of evangelical Christianity among the upper and middle classes who equated it, more and more, with their own personal well-being.

Recently I finished reading “The Church of Irresistible Influence” by Robert Lewis. He believes that “contrary to much evidence, the church does not exist for the sake of the church. It exists for the sake of the world.” He says that most Christians are becoming more and more comfortable with each other while becoming more and more disconnected with the world. We live in fairly isolated communities with programs that meet our needs primarily. In terms of the season, we’ve lost our ability to incarnate the truth. Christ left the safety zone of heaven to bring transformational truth into our world. The law from Unapproachable Deity above hadn’t cut it…the Word had to come down and become flesh. He had to speak our language in our world in order for us to get it. By building a bridge from the eternal realm to us in time and space, Christ set us free to transcend our world and enter His (Ephesians 2:6).

If in fact, the church embraced a holistic gospel and focused its energies on becoming all things to all people in order to draw them into the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 9:19-23), perhaps the either/or dilemma would start to disappear. I believe we need a both/and approach that builds bridges to our communities and results in a vibrant faith.

Let me close yet with two reality check questions I once heard that may help you keep this conversation going: (1) If your church doors closed tomorrow would anyone in your community notice? (2) Would anyone care?

Contact MeContact Me

Let's Connect

I’d love to connect with you via email or phone. Snail mail can be sent to the address listed below.

Address

333 East Margaret Drive, Wilmore, KY 40390

Phone

(+1) 269.625.3400

Booking InfoBooking Info

Logistics and Details

Select me as your speaker, and I will give you my best effort. See me as a catalyst or facilitator that will help you achieve the goals you’ve set for your event. When you win, I win. It’s as simple as that. I’m here to serve you in life’s journey!

Venue

A venue for the event should be chosen with the target audience in mind. All-day or half-day workshops are ideally hosted in rooms where food can be served and participants can gather around tables for group dialogue and breakout sessions (click on links for preferred room setup: round/long tables). All venues should be suited for multi-media presentations and wired for sound.

Once a date and presentation topic have been confirmed for an event, the venue name and address along with a contact phone number should be submitted for advertisement purposes. These will be posted in my speaking schedule and used in advertising media.

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Equipment

A room featuring a multi-media projector with 3000 lumens or greater is preferred for all events. I will use my own projector when one is not available. Please note that for most presentations and workshops I need my laptop at the front of the venue from where I’ll be speaking. My system can accommodate VGA/HDMI/DVI cables. Most of my presentations are designed for widescreen (16:9).

For audio I prefer a lapel or Countryman microphone. For presentation/video audio I can supply my own speaker for groups under 100 people. For larger groups I need an audio cable (3.5mm mini stereo) that plugs directly into my laptop.

Replace lecterns and pulpits with a small table or stand on which to place a laptop.

For workshops, have a flip chart or white board available with markers in several colors.

An eight-foot table should be available on which to place books, CDs, DVDs, and other resources for sale. Cash, checks, and credit cards are all accepted.

Fees

I do not charge a set fee when speaking at non-profit events. However, donations are welcome to support my family, cover bills, and feed my Puggle. Suggested donation amount is $500/day plus travel expenses. If I’m within 8 hours of an event I will drive (suggested reimbursement of $250), otherwise I typically fly (if within the USA, $500). I fly out of Lexington, KY and typically purchase my own tickets; a reimbursement check can be mailed to 333 East Margaret Drive, Wilmore, KY 40390.

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I’d be delighted to come to your event and speak. I typically keep my events within a 1-3 day time period due to commitments to my family; anything over this length of time is generally reserved for international travel. Workshops can be facilitated as whole-day or half-day events. My multi-part series can be easily held over a weekend, beginning Friday night and ending Sunday morning or beginning Sunday morning and ending Monday evening.

About MeAbout Me

Speaker, author, and life coach.

Born in Ontario, Canada, I moved to El Salvador at age 4 to live as a missionary kid for three years. At age nineteen I moved to Alberta, Canada where I taught school for three years. After leading several short term teams to Asia focused on unreached people groups, I married my sweetheart Amy and lived in Northern Indiana for Familya year and a half. In 1997, we moved with our infant daughter Brittany to Thailand where I served as director of Global Tribes Outreach. During our ten-year stint in Southeast Asia, God blessed us with two more children—Courtney and Jamin. In 2008 we moved back to North America and bought our first house in Kentucky, USA. I acquired a Masters in Christian Leadership from Asbury Seminary in 2014 and now travel both domestically and internationally to develop leaders.

As a leadership developer and life coach I help non-profit and business leaders understand how to maximize their God-given potential to lead and serve others. I am the author of A Serving Leader’s Devotional and the President of the Reverb Network.

I’ve spoken broadly on personal & global mission, leadership, team building, and numerous Biblical subjects over the last 20 years on four continents and numerous states and provinces in the USA and Canada.

I am committed to a Biblical worldview and dedicated to motivating the church toward missional thinking and practice in all areas of life. I believe that everyone has a God-given purpose to love and serve others like Jesus. I firmly believe that having our thinking challenged is not enough; it must be translated into change.

MY STORY

I have heard from other staff members who agree with me, this was one of the best/productive workshops we've attended.

Dan Domer
Staff Member, Covenant Church, Winterville, NC

Your talk rocked my world.  

Qian Wang
Perspectives Student, College Station, TX

Luke Kuepfer’s high-energy presentation of the material was delightful, articulate, and profound! If you are looking for a fresh and life-changing look at Jesus’ servant leadership model, look no further! Give Luke a call!

Don Showalter
President, Hearts Alive!

Luke is a dynamic speaker with the gift of clearly articulating Biblical truths in an easy-to-understand manner. He speaks in humility but with authority, and injects his message with the experience and global perspective gained from living abroad as a missionary for many years.

Santosh David Poonen
Elder, River of Life Christian Fellowship, Loveland, CO

Luke’s enthusiasm and passion for the local church and its impact in the community is inspiring. I highly recommend his teaching and ministry!  

Clarence Miller
Deacon, Sharon Mennonite Church

“Transformational” is the one word I would use to describe the seminar. Luke has a true gift in communicating God’s truths with clarity and passion.

Joe Bacher
Pastor, Foothills Fellowship Westminster, SC

Luke is enthusiastic and knowledgeable, presenting the interactive material creatively. It is a unique presentation unlike the usual “leadership seminars” taught from the front. Luke presents it with expertise, fun, and interest in each attendee.

David Livingstone
Regional Manager, North-East & Mid-Atlantic Region, The JESUS Film Project

Luke really has an incredible way of captivating everyone’s attention and making a seminar meaningful. He speaks from his heart and lives what he preaches. As a result of this Encounter we’re taking our family to Southeast Asia on a two-month mission trip with the possibility of moving there long-term.

Lloyd & Mary Ellen Esh
Pastor, New Covenant Mennonite Fellowship New Holland, PA

REVIEWS

SKILLS

Years Lived Abroad
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14-ers Climbed in CO
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2014 - 2017

SPEAKER, COACH, & LEADERSHIP DEVELOPER

Presentations and workshops in both non-profit and business venues around the world on leadership, people skills, and life purpose.

2011- 2013

STUDENT @ ASBURY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

Masters Degree in Christian Leadership.

2009 - 2010

STUDENT @ THOMAS EDISON STATE COLLEGE

Bachelor’s Degree online in Liberal Studies.

1997 - 2008

DIRECTOR @ GLOBAL TRIBES OUTREACH

Founded and served as Field Director of Global Tribes Outreach (GTO), a non-profit organization based in Southeast Asia committed to church planting and social work.

1994 - 1996

WORKER IN CONSTRUCTION AND AGRICULTURE

Floor finishing in concrete construction and equipment operator on a cash crop farm.

1990 - 1993

TEACHER @ PRAIRIE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

Taught elementary through high school students in a self-directed learning environment.