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Monthly May 2011
From Cows back to Tombstones

When I was around eight years of age my parents discovered that I was quite near-sighted. Here’s how it happened. Snow was falling while we drove away from our friends’ house after a Sunday lunch. Looking out the car window I spotted what I thought was a herd of cows in a nearby field. My heart of compassion melted for those “poor critters in the snowstorm,” and I shared my sentiments publicly. My mom and dad both gasped and laughed at the same time. I had mistaken tombstones for cows—we were simply passing by a cemetery.

Less than three weeks ago I traveled to Louisville, KY to see if I would qualify for LASIK eye surgery. According to the Joffe Medi-Center there are basically three steps to the standard procedure. First, the corneal flap is created and lifted; second, an excimer laser reshapes the cornea; and third, the flap is replaced. All this is done in a matter of minutes. Recovery and regained sight is almost instantaneous.

Before I take you through my experience with LASIK let me tell you about my condition. Without corrective lenses (contacts or glasses) I could hardly recognize someone standing five feet away. My prescription for glasses was around -8.25 and for contacts -7.5.

After getting tested by the professionals at Joffe, I was informed that I was not a candidate for standard LASIK. PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) was recommended instead. It involved a gentle scraping of some surface cells off the cornea and then using a laser beam to re-shape it. I was told that recovery would take longer and that there would be several days of discomfort.

It took just three minutes on the operating table. Blurred vision and the smell of burning flesh lasted only for seconds. Imagine my surprise at being able to read the clock on the wall immediately after surgery. That was something I hadn’t been able to do for thirty years!

The first evening was very unpleasant as my eyes were on fire! Painkillers and other meds helped me fall asleep. By morning I was much better and actually drove the hour and a half trip home. A week later my vision was at 20/25 with “bandage contacts.” Those were taken out during my second check-up and my vision regressed for several days following. After that my vision improved almost on a daily basis. Today I have my vision back and I’m not using any corrective lenses whatsoever. I’m also back to work and using my computer again; hence another post to the blogosphere.

Never again will I mistake tombstones for cows.

Christian America?

In the United States of America today, Christians are known more for what they’re against than what they are for. In their book, unchristian, authors David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons tell us that 91% of young people in America believe that we are anti-homosexual. 87% see us as judgmental and 85% deem us hypocritical. 78% view us as old-fashioned and out of touch with reality. 75% think we are way too political. 70% think we are insensitive to others and not genuine. For some reason we’ve become famous for what we oppose.

One speaker I heard in recent years painted a picture similar to that which has befallen the Amish in North America. In the not-too-distant future, he claimed, we may very well be able to board tour buses in Colorado Springs and visit the remnants of the Evangelical Church. We’re quickly becoming irrelevant to society. And unless we change our posture, we simply will become an oddity from the past that attracts a few passing tourists but has little influence on society as a whole.

83% of Americans claim to be Christian yet only 17% are attending church regularly. 50% of churches have no new converts in the last year; 95% of Christians never lead anyone to Christ; and 2% only give it any real attempt on a regular basis. By 2050, 400 million Americans will have no clear expression of the Gospel (most of these alarming statistics were recently presented by Pete Hise at an Uprising Conference I recently attended in Lexington, KY).

My pastor recently pointed out that many Christians either try to hide from the world or try to hide their love for Jesus from the world. We can fall into either ditch. Too many are concerned with living in a Christian nation rather than making America a nation of Christians.

We seem to have a problem with preferring adjectives over nouns and verbs. Jesus calls us “to be” who “do.” Furthermore, nouns always like verbs; sentences are only complete when both are present.

So how Christian really are we? What will it take to be known as people who love unconditionally? Can we create cultures of redemption that are irresistible? Can we flavor society as Jesus’ salt analogy of Matthew 5 suggests rather than run from it? If so, what will “being Christian” and “doing Christian” look like?

What is Spiritual Authority?

Much has been written on authority and how it relates to leadership. In the last few decades we’ve witnessed time and again a general lack of respect for authority and the crumbling of structures in which these authorities have operated. We’ve also generally been taught that those who reject authority are under condemnation. But is it also possible that those who claim authority are actually not “in authority” at all? And if that is the case should one seek out another spiritual authority?

Just last week I came across Watchman Nee’s Ten Commandments of Spiritual Authority. As a student of leadership I found his insights fascinating. I’ll make comments after each one.

1. One who learns spiritual authority as the power base for ministry must recognize the essential Source of all authority: God.

While many rely on their position granted to them by another human being, true spiritual authority can only stem from God. Positional leadership will always be limited in its power; people ultimately respect and follow the influence of one who is anointed with authority from above.

2. God’s delegated authority does not belong to the person exercising it – that person is just a channel.

Perhaps Andy Stanley says it best when expounding on a passage repeated four times in the book of Daniel (4:17, 4:25, 4:32, 5:21): “Leadership is a stewardship, it is temporary, and you’re accountable.” Nebuchadnezzar learned it the hard way but at least he “got it”! A later king—Belshazzar—treated his predecessor’s most important life lesson with contempt and lost everything including his life.

3. The channel of delegated authority is responsible to God for how that authority is exercised.

As often seen in the Biblical narrative, authority wrongly exercised by one, leads to another raised in his stead. Moses failed by not speaking to the rock and Joshua replaced him. As Saul became power hungry and consumed with self-preservation a young worshiper named David began his ascension to the throne.

4. A leader is one who recognizes God’s authority manifested in real-life situations.

A person who has spiritual influence is one who not only knows God but has also experienced God. His or her wisdom is derived from seeing God’s finger in the “normal stuff” of life and responding rightly to the means and methods of Sovereignty.

5. Subjection to authority means that a person is subjected to God Himself and not to the channel through which the authority comes.

Perhaps you’ve seen leaders who start out well with a desire to please only God, yet end up serving a system that God has seemingly withdrawn from. “Ichabod” (see 1 Samuel 4:21) is clearly written over the institution as it has become self-serving and no longer reveals the glory of God to its constituents. Instead of serving “an audience of One”, the leader now serves the structure or hierarchy that granted him his perceived position of authority.

6. Rebellion against authority means that a person is not subjecting himself to God, though it may appear that the person is rejecting some impure manifestation of God’s authority through a human channel.

Just this morning I was reading in Numbers 16 about the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and On. They believed that Moses and Aaron had set themselves above everyone else apart from God’s authority. While Moses and Aaron were certainly human and thus prone to sin and failure, these rebels failed to understand that it was God’s authority they were questioning. They were struck down because they “treated the Lord with contempt” (16:30). Incidentally, not long after this event both Moses and Aaron also failed to subject themselves to God’s authority (20:12) and forfeited their privilege of entering the Promised Land.

7. People who are under God’s authority look for and recognize spiritual authority and willingly place themselves under it.

A centurion with great authority and power in the Roman world recognized Jesus’ Sovereign authority and humbly noted that he was undeserving of having audience with Him (see Luke 7:1-10). Jesus commended this man for his tremendous faith—something He could not say about His own people who should have recognized Him for Who He truly was.

8. Spiritual authority is never exercised for one’s own benefit, but for those under it.

The greatest model ever of this is Jesus of Nazareth. Entering our world as a vulnerable little baby and choosing poverty for circumstances rather than a palace, Jesus demonstrated that He wouldn’t take advantage of His heavenly position (Philippians 2:6). He instructs His disciples on authority in Matthew 20:25-28: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

9. A person in spiritual authority does not have to insist on obedience – that is the moral responsibility of the follower.

When a leader has to remind followers to obey his or her authority it may be a sign that the leader is no longer in authority. True followers who submit themselves to God’s authority will remove themselves from the influence of those who are simply blowing their own trumpet and seek out another leader where’s God’s authority is clearly evident. The men who followed David did that. And David removed himself from Saul’s authority as well—though perhaps more so for the preservation of his life than anything else.

10. God is responsible to defend spiritual authority.

When one who has spiritual authority is rejected it is not his or her responsibility to defend that authority. This principle is clearly seen in the Numbers 16 story alluded to earlier. In God’s words: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19).

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As your speaker 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!


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. I can provide advertising media for all events including online registration if needed.



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 cables. I can also supply an Apple TV for systems that require wireless projection from the front. 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 a mic cord (to plug into my direct box) or 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. Standard telescoping music stands are ideal.

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.


I do not charge a set fee when speaking at non-profit events. However, donations are welcome to support my family and cover bills. The suggested donation amount is $500/day for each day I’m on the trip plus travel expenses. If I’m within a few hours of an event I will drive (suggested reimbursement of $250), otherwise, I typically fly (if within the USA, $500). I fly out of Chicago, IL and typically purchase my own tickets; a reimbursement check made out to “Luke Kuepfer” can be mailed to 725 Newgate Lane, Apartment C, Prospect Heights, IL 60070.


I’d be delighted to come to your event and speak. I typically keep my events within a 1-3 day time period; 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.

Originally from Ontario, Canada, I currently hail from Chicagoland, IL. My wife Amy is originally from Indiana, USA and we have three children—Brittany, Courtney, and Jamin. Brittany is married to Josiah Zimmerman, Courtney to Jevon Martin, and Jamin is dating Emma Kate Crouse. 

I believe that as followers of Christ we are called to glorify God in all that we do. One way to do that is through serving leadership—leading, loving, and serving like Jesus. To ultimately serve others we must first serve our Audience of One—our heavenly Father—and, like Jesus, we must focus on the few to impact the many.

I served as Field Director for Global Tribes Outreach between 1997-2008, a non-profit organization in Southeast Asia I helped found back in 1995. Currently I serve as President of the Reverb Network which initiates serving leadership movements in North America and around the world.

My experience in missions mobilization, leadership training, and team development has taken me to four continents over the last 20 years. I have a Masters degree in Christian leadership from Asbury Seminary and speak, train, and coach in both business and non-profit spheres.

Having climbed 29 of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks, my family hopes to summit all 53 before my energy runs out.

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



Years Lived Abroad
Countries Visited
14-ers Climbed in CO
Places Lived
2014 - 2022


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

2011- 2013


Masters Degree in Christian Leadership.

2009 - 2010


Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies.

1997 - 2008


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


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

1990 - 1993


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