Monday, November 28, 2011


The first billionaire ever was John D. Rockefeller. At the age of 23, he had already become a millionaire and, by the age of 50, he had achieved the status of being the nation’s first billionaire. Every waking moment of his life was spent in a quest to create and amass wealth, and he was very good at it. However, by the age of 53 he was struggling health-wise. His entire body constantly ached and he lost all of his hair. Inexplicably, his health continued to deteriorate. He couldn‘t eat regular food because of stomach problems, and his diet consisted of milk and crackers – every day. His personal physicians predicted that ‘the man who could buy anything he wanted’ would die within a year.

One morning, when John D. Rockefeller awoke, he made a decision. He called his attorneys, accountants and managers and announced that he wanted to channel all of his assets to hospitals, medical research and mission work. That day he established the John D. Rockefeller Foundation. This new direction in his life eventually led to the discovery of penicillin, cures for current strains of malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria. The list of discoveries resulting from his generosity is long. But perhaps the most amazing part of Rockefeller’s story is that the day he began to give back a portion of what he had earned, something happened inside his own body. His body chemistry was altered so significantly that he got better. When it looked like, to his doctors and everyone else, he would die at 53; he wound up living until he was 98! History documents that he was actually healed, mentally, emotionally and physically by the decision to become generous. His generosity was not only revolutionary for the advancement of medicine and medical missions; it was also revolutionary in his own life.

Pray with me…. Our Father, You have made us to be like Yourself…. big-hearted and openhanded. Your Word teaches us that You are the ‘giver of every good and perfect gift.’ We want to be like You in our giving spirit. We want to seek first Your kingdom and righteousness. We want to demonstrate our priorities and values in practical measurable ways. Give us opportunities and challenges to go deeper in our conformity to Your likeness through our stewardship and our service. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Someone has suggested that marital love generally moves through three stages. First, there is romance when the couple is completely infatuated with each other and the electricity flows. But, this ‘honeymoon’ stage tends to fade with the passing of time. The couple finds out that each other has faults. She is usually running late and he does not pick up after himself. And so, the second stage of marital love is tolerance. They learn to put up with each other’s foibles. They learn the ‘dance.’ He develops patience and she unselfishly adjusts her expectations. Then, as more time passes, the love deepens, reaching the third and final stage of acceptance. This is the mature love stage. The couple has learned to overlook each other’s faults and sacrifice for one other. Love in the third degree sets in and the couple experiences deep affection and life-long companionship.

[Trouble comes when one or the other in the marriage gets restless in the tolerance stage and decides to try and rediscover romance again with someone else. In reality, what they are doing is delaying the ultimate fulfillment of acceptance/mature love.]

I think people can tend to cycle the same way in their relationship to the Lord and His church. When you first come to Christ and into the church, you are swept off your feet. You think, “This is the greatest place in the world!” You are moved in every worship service. You can’t get enough of the friendship of other Christians. You are infatuated. Then, after a while, you discover some faults. A pastor forgets your name, the music that was so uplifting becomes routine, the preaching is not as compelling, you have to look for a parking place or a seat, you have to wait in line to check-in your child. You begin to criticize and you begin to hear of other churches you might like to visit. You want to rediscover excitement of that ‘new’ feeling. But, it’s only when you stick through the tough times and the disappointing experiences that eventually you reach the mature stage of loving the church in spite of her faults.

And Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I have sometimes heard this verse quoted incorrectly/backwards…. “For where your heart is, there your treasure is also.” But Jesus said if we want our heart to be in something, we should put our treasure there first; then the heart will logically and naturally follow. I am sure that this is why we are admonished to tithe as a matter of obedience and to give offerings as an expression of generosity. When our treasure is invested in the Lord’s church and its mission, locally and globally, our hearts will be in it for the long haul. We will move from infatuation to investment to intentional commitment. Without giving as an expression of our love, we will become disillusioned, distracted and disinterested. If we obediently and generously give our treasure, our hearts will remain faithful until death.

Pray with me…. Our Father, you have been and will consistently be the gold standard for faithfulness to us for all of our lives. We love knowing that beneath us are your everlasting arms, that when we draw near to You….You will draw near to us, that Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Your love for us is the love we want to manifest for Your church. May it be reflected in our priorities….the investment of our time, our treasure and our talent. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


His enemies wanted desperately to entrap him with his own words. Jesus had rattled them to the core and they were fed up with it. Surely there was some way of getting him to say something blatantly wrong….corner him in a situation with no way out. Perhaps they could trick him into taking sides between the religious authorities and the governmental rulers…..

So, they asked him a loaded question: “Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Jesus knew their dark hearts and chose to teach them a powerful lesson about giving. He called for a Roman coin and asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. And with their own answer still ringing in their ears, Jesus charged them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” And human logic and divine revelation came together in one profound statement.

This life-defining truth is all too often missed, possibly because we’re so distracted by the clever way in which Jesus put down the deceivers. But, we must not miss his underlying point: Just as Caesar’s image and inscription were on that coin, God’s image and inscription are on us. We are made in his image and destined for salvation. Our very reason for being is to reflect his likeness as he draws us to himself. He owns us. We are his. We are God’s currency. Because of this, we give ourselves to him…. ‘Give to God what is God’s!’ And if he has us, there is nothing about us that does not ultimately belong to him.

No truth of stewardship is more basic; none is more potent. Giving to God what is God’s, first and foremost, means contributing our money, our time, our resources….our very lives unreservedly in his service and for his purposes.

Pray with me…. Our Father, impress on us with each new day the fact that we were made by you and for you. And, that giving by ourselves back to you from the heart, we are committing life’s solitary and most significant act, prompted by conviction born of Holy Spirit. We offer ourselves, all we have and are, to you again this day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Pastor Ken

Monday, November 14, 2011


In 2006 I took a short-term mission trip to Havana, Cuba. A team of about a dozen of us went there [through Cancun, since you cannot fly direct into Cuba from the U.S.] to do Spanish Bible distribution and evangelistic work [both against the law] and to teach/encourage the leaders of a network of house churches throughout the city. I was struck by the slum-like conditions of the entire city, after 40+ years under a military controlled, communistic, atheistic totalitarian dictatorship. We could not drink the water. It was unsafe. Electricity was provided by un-insulated wire strung on the outside of the buildings; and was not consistent or reliable. The streets were in disrepair. The gutters on the edges of the streets were open sewers. The housing was substandard to say the least. Children played in weeded lots and mud holes. We could not openly assemble. We could not publicly distribute literature. There was no freedom of speech or freedom of assembly. Everything we did had to be done in homes or inside of walled back yards, which meant the crowds were limited to a hundred or less at a time. Every time I travel to a third world country, I am struck by how blessed we are in this nation.

Why is this true? Is it because we are just lucky? Is it because we are more intelligent or hard working? No. The answer is in Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord….” This is why we have had prolonged prosperity and productivity. This is why we have 50% of the world’s resources and only 4% of the world’s population. This is why, in the last 200 years, France has had 5 different forms of government and Italy has had over 50 forms of government and the Soviet Union with all their vast resources collapsed a few years ago after only 75 years of existence. But, what of our future? I believe it is in jeopardy unless there is national repentance. We are presently on a slippery slope as secularism rages on and spiritual values and life are scorned by the masses.

Pray with me…. Our Father, we never have been and we never will be a perfect nation, because there are no perfect people in this nation. But we can be a nation that is universally and unapologetically on a quest to be perfected by the grace of Jesus Christ and invested in the advancement of His kingdom through the living church. This is our magnificent obsession. That your kingdom will come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus name, amen.


Pastor Ken

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


INTIMACY WITH GOD…. Prayers of desperation and prayers of heartfelt thanksgiving…. I have vivid memories of a Friday night in August of 2005. It was after 11 PM and I was at home in Joplin, babysitting our infant grandson Bowen, who was sleeping in a back bedroom. I was trying to stay awake until my wife, Kaylene; our older daughter, Karissa; our son-in-law, Brian; and our two older grandchildren, Blakeley [7] and Kaden [5] Sites, returned from the final session of a Christ in Youth Conference in Bolivar, MO. Karissa was 5 months pregnant with their fourth grandchild at the time.

The phone rang at 11:10 PM. It was Kaylene telling me that the family had been in an accident on I-44 and would be delayed getting back. Then she relayed the details of what had happened…. She was driving. Brian was sitting in the middle of the back seat. Karissa was in the front seat on the rider’s side and the two children were strapped into their car seats by the windows in the back seat….

An 18-wheeler [semi] had passed the car behind them and then immediately pulled back into the right lane hitting our car in the left rear quarter panel. [The driver would later say he didn’t see them.] The impact turned the vehicle sideways and the semi ‘t-boned’ our car, hitting it a second time, square in the driver’s side door. [Kaylene would later say she could see the grille of the semi pushed up against her window.] The semi knocked our car across the median into the double lanes of traffic going the opposite direction on this very busy divided highway; except there was an unusual break in the traffic flow, just long enough for Kaylene to coast to a stop on the shoulder facing the oncoming traffic! Our car did not roll over. No one was injured. The state police who came to the scene could not believe it when they were told what happened. Our car actually started up again and was drivable. Apparently, the two vehicles, both driving at 70 mph, resulted in the impact being less serious. Then Kaylene revealed two amazing details…. She said that immediately, with the first impact, our son-in-law, Brian, cried out, “O God, please help us!” It was his first instinct to begin praying a prayer of desperation out loud. My wife also told me that she distinctly remembered hearing someone tell her to take her foot off the gas and release the steering wheel. She said it sounded like the voice of her father, who had been deceased for 8 months. Neither of the children, asleep in their car seats, even woke up. Brian took over the driving duties, backed up an exit ramp with the help of the police, and drove the family back home safe and sound sometime after midnight.

While I waited alone in the dark for them to return, I had some time for deep reflection and gratitude. Much of my world was in that car that night. I could have lost my wife, my firstborn daughter, my son-in-law and three grandchildren in a tragic accident. I got down on my knees beside my bed and prayed, “O Father, thank you, thank you!” My first instinct upon hanging up the phone was to cry out to God praying a prayer of thanksgiving for His mercy. That night my life could have changed dramatically. Intimacy with God is forged in such moments. Have you had such an experience in your life? I would love to hear/read about it.

Our Father…. Your Word declares that ‘your eyes are upon your people from the beginning of the year even to the end of the year.’ You never slumber or sleep. You are vigilant. You protect us from temptation that we cannot handle. You protect us from trials that we are not able to bear. If we experience something bad, You allow it for our ultimate good. You can redeem it. If we go through a hard time, You can use it to mature us and equip us to minister to someone else. We trust You Lord. We praise You because You work all things together for our good. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken