Monday, February 20, 2012


I am blessed to have wonderful ministry partners at Crossroads. We pastors are true ‘yokefellows’ in the bond of Christ and Crossroads. Todd Bussey, our Senior Associate Pastor, has written from the overflow of his study for the message last weekend on what is perhaps the second greatest miracle Jesus ever performed, the raising of Lazarus from the dead…. See his insightful challenge below:

When Jesus planned to return to Bethany, upon hearing the news of the failing health of his friend Lazarus, the disciples encouraged him to go under cover of night. But Jesus insisted that they should not be fearful of hostility from the Jews or secretive in their visit saying, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of the world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles because the light is not in him.” [John 11:9] Herein is a little noticed revelation of the integrity of Jesus. Many times Jesus demonstrated courage; but in this case, he impresses the importance of doing the hard assignments in the light of day. Rather than taking the path of self-preservation, Jesus chose not to hide in the shadows.

So, how confident are you to live out your faith boldly and openly, especially when there is the likelihood of persecution or ridicule? Amanda [my wife] and I are amused when we go out to eat with our non-churched friends and observe their mixed responses when we offer to express thanks for the food. This is something we do for every other meal; why would we be embarrassed to do this in public? Why hide a prayer of thanksgiving, something we regularly practice in the privacy of our home? Likewise, I am encouraged to hear of others in our church family who find ways to integrate their faith into everyday life. Coaches who spiritually counsel and pray with their players, doctors who pray with their patients before surgeries, business leaders who minister to their employees and seek God’s wisdom for important decisions, students and employees who lead Bible studies during lunch breaks or who arrange time to do peer Christian counseling for coworkers in personal crisis.

All these expressions of open and public witness are faithful to Jesus’ principle of operating in the light, something that should characterize the life of every mature disciple of His. God calls us to “Walk in the light, even as He is in the light.” [I John 1:7] So, how visible is your walk? How unashamed of His Lordship are you in the way you think, talk, act and react?

Pray with me…. Father, in these days when living out the Christian faith may bring misunderstanding and criticism, help us never to forget the public stand you have taken for us. Give us the courage to boldly live out our faith before the eyes of the watching world. May our public testimony be a magnet to pull others closer to You. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! And, I have to tell you; one of the best ‘educations’ I ever received was the one I got several years ago, reading a book entitled, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Whatever you are doing right now, stop and take time to go to their web site…. the same name as the book. It will be a valuable investment of your time, especially this week. In the book, the author makes a case for the fact that each of us has a dominant ‘love language.’ And that learning to ‘speak’ the love language of your loved ones is critical for those relationships to thrive. There is even a test for you to be able to discover your love language and the love language of others close to you.

What an eye-opener! I discovered that my wife’s love language is ‘acts of service.’ Our older daughter’s love language is ‘time.’ And our younger daughter’s love language is ‘gifts.’ Since my love language is ‘affirming words,’ I just assumed that was what these three women in my life needed most from me. Not so! I made necessary adjustments immediately [and have tried to sustain them through the years]. I started cleaning up the kitchen after dinner for my wife, making our bed in the morning, running the sweeper [occasionally] and asking her for the ‘honey-do’ list rather than having her chase me down with it. I started having long conversations with my older daughter, including unhurried reading with her at night. I started picking up little items, not expensive, just to let my baby girl know I was thinking about her through the week. [Since our son’s love language was the same as mine, he was easy. I just communicated to him the kinds of things I appreciated hearing others say to me.] I can tell you, this ‘love language’ thing was revolutionary in the Idleman household. Ever since getting a handle on it, I have become a ‘lover’ in the purest and best sense of the word…. and not just on Valentine’s Day…. but all year long.

Our greatest need as people created in the image of God is to give and receive love. The power and the will to do it are from above, from the Heavenly Father, who is Himself, love. But I have to tell you, at a practical level, I thank Christian author Gary Chapman for the wake-up call to focus God’s love flowing through me to the people I love the most on this earth.

Pray with me…. Dear Father in heaven, you are the one who created us and hard-wired us to respond to expressions of love from others and to extend expressions of love to others. We want to communicate our love to You by our faithful worship and obedience. And we want to love others in the ways that they understand. We want them to ‘get it.’ So, Father, perfect in each of us the heart to give love to others, packaged in the way they receive it best. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I sincerely wish that Tom could ‘hang-out’ with Tim between now and the start of the next National Football League season. I would love to see Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback, have a chance to be influenced by Tebow, the Denver Broncos quarterback. Or, perhaps Brady could spend some quality time with a mentor like Tony Dungy, former Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts. That would be a good-thing. It could be a God-thing. Tebow and Dungy both have their feet on the ground and their heads on straight. And, it is not because of psychological mind games or a self-improvement scheme or some mystical Eastern religion. It is because of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

I was captivated by an interview of Tom Brady by Steve Croft on 60 Minutes after a Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles back in 2005. In a moment of rare transparency, Brady said, “God, this isn’t it!” In context, he was talking about having it all, having everything the world has to offer. Hey, I am aware that this is a pastoral cliché, but it is also a factual and it is a very real contemporary parable. Listen, Tom Brady is 6’4” and weighs 220 pounds. He is strikingly handsome. He is married to a Brazilian super-model who is worth $150,000,000. They live in a $20,000,000 mansion. He has three Super Bowl rings. And he is not yet 35 years old. But clearly, he is searching…. just like the rich, young ruler who approached Jesus with the question, “What am I missing in my life? I know I am missing something. What is it?”

An eye-witness in the New England locker room after their loss of last night’s Super Bowl said that Brady sat motionless, staring at the floor, in front of his locker until nearly 11 PM. He was inconsolable, unresponsive to even his close friends. Was it merely sadness over losing the big game? Or was it something more. It is now 2012. Is he still searching for what is real? Is he still experiencing the deep inner quest we all have to know who we are, why we are here and where we are going when we die? Is he any closer to having answers than he was in 2005? What can we learn by looking behind the acquisition, the wealth, the media hype, the image? What matters most is how things look from the inside out…. from within our souls.

During the pre-game week, in an Internet post that went viral, Gisele Bundchen, Tom Brady’s wife said, “Pray for Tom right now….” So, I am going to do that. And, I am going to pray for all of God’s estranged children out there who are trying to find meaning in life through intellectualism, materialism and hedonism.

Pray with me…. Father God, You have made us for Yourself. Our souls will never find true and satisfying rest until they rest in You. Thank you for Jesus who came to seek us, save us and satisfy us from the inside out. We pray for the lesser-known, lesser-endowed Tom Brady’s and Gisele Bundchen’s out there in our generation. May they find rest in You. In the name of Jesus, the Way, we pray, amen.

Pastor Ken